WJC REPORT: Canada, Russia and Czechs all win

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins picks up a goal and an assist in Canada's 6-3 win over Slovakia

Friday, 28.12.2012 / 2:00 PM

Five Oilers prospects are taking part in the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships in Ufa, Russia. We are providing daily reports and links to interviews and highlights through to the end of the tournament.

CANADA 6, SLOVAKIA 3

Canada was put to the test on Friday against a tough Slovakian squad that had forced overtime against Russia on Wednesday.

The Slovaks got off to a fast start as 2:53 into the game Marko Dano scored on a tight goalmouth scramble to give them the lead. Late in the period, that lead was extended to 2-0 following a power play goal by Tomas Mikus. The man advantage came about after J.C. Lipon received a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking to the head.

Canada got one of the goals back 2:16 into the middle frame when Ryan Strome fired a wrist shot from between the hash marks to draw the Canadians within one.

Several minutes later, Canada lost its second player to a game misconduct. Anthony Camara received a charging major at the period's 6:21 mark. Strome then took a penalty three minutes later to put Canada down two men.

While on the two-man advantage, Slovakia netted their second power play goal of the game to move ahead 3-1. Dano blasted a one-timer from the right circle for the goal.

It only took Canada 1:07 to get that goal back. Morgan Rielly blasted a one-timer from the left circle, assisted by Mark Scheifele and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Less than four minutes later, Canada pulled even for the first time in the game. Ty Rattie scored to make it 3-3. With 59 seconds to play in the middle frame, the Canadian onslaught continued as Scheifele redirected a shot from Xavier Oullet and suddenly Canada was in front by one.

Nugent-Hopkins scored his second of the tournament 3:32 into the third period. He took a pass from Huberdeau while in front of the net and did some quick stickhandling before sliding it past the Slovak netminder Nagy.

Strome made it 6-3 with his second of the game, putting the contest out of reach.

Nugent-Hopkins was 53.33% in the faceoff circle and had a goal and an assist on the day. He was also +2 with two shots on net.

-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com

RUSSIA 2, USA 1

Vladimir Tkachyov scored the decisive goal early in the third period and goalie Andrei Makarov made it stand behind a solid 41-save performance as the Russian National Junior Team scored a 2-1 victory over the United States on Friday in Group B action of the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.

Makarov, who was earning his first start in the tournament, made 15 saves in the third period and was named Russia's player of the game. U.S. goalie John Gibson was stellar in defeat with 28 saves.

The victory moves Russia into second place in Group B with five points (one regulation win, one overtime win). The United States, which will next face first-place Canada (six points) on Sunday, drops to third with three points.

The Russians snapped a 1-1 tie 4:10 into the third period when Tkachyov brought the hometown faithful to their feet after he knocked home a rebound off a splendid individual effort from top 2013 draft-eligible forward Varleri Nichushkin.

Nichushkin took possession of the puck in his own end and skated the length of the ice before curling U.S. defenseman Seth Jones deep in the right circle and jamming an attempt on goalie John Gibson. The rebound skittered to Tkachyov in the slot.

The U.S. was pressuring the Russian defense at times in the third, but after Russian coach Mikhail Varnakov called a timeout with 11:28 remaining, the players seemed to settle down. In fact, Gibson was then called upon to make several big saves, including a semi-breakaway attempt off the stick of Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning).

For Makarov, an undrafted free agent signee of the Buffalo Sabres in September, the game is a continuation of the effort he put forth for silver medal-winning Russia at the 2012 WJC. Filling in for Andrei Vasilevski midway through the semifinal round match against Canada last year and then getting the start against Sweden in the gold medal game, Makarov posted a 1-1 record with an 0.88 goals-against average and .979 save percentage.

Defenseman Jacob Trouba, who was named the U.S. player of the game, pulled his team into a 1-1 tie when he ripped a slap shot from the point past Makarov 13:18 into the second. Alex Galchenyuk gathered the puck in the right circle before feathering a pass to Trouba at the point. Trouba's shot appeared to tip off the leg of Russian forward Daniil Zharkov, who went down to one knee to block the attempt.

Gibson needed to make a great save less than three minutes into the second to keep his team within one. Rocco Grimaldi attempted an ill-advised cross-ice pass in the offensive zone that sent Zharkov on a 2-on-0 break in the opposite direction. As Zharkov entered the left circle, U.S. defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere raced back to impede his path to the slot, forcing the crafty Russian to shot a little sooner.

Gibson received some help five minutes into the second when Yaroslav Dyblenko's blast from the right point rang off the short-side post.

The U.S. couldn't take advantage of its first power-play opportunity of the period when Kirill Dyakov was whistled for tripping at 5:12. The Grind Line, consisting of U.S. forwards Blake Pietila, Ryan Hartman and Cole Bardreau, did a great job on the forecheck throughout. The trio played a big role in forcing the Russian penalty late in the period that led to the U.S. goal.

The Russians opened a 1-0 lead just 2:42 into the first when Albert Yarullin one-timed a shot from the left circle off a pass from Nikita Nesterov on the power play. Nail Yakupov also assisted on the goal, which appeared to deflect off U.S. defenseman Jake McCabe in front before eluding goalie John Gibson.

-- Mike Morreale, NHL.com

CZECH 3, FINLAND 1

Oilers prospect David Musil and the Czech Republic bounced back from Wednesday's loss to Sweden with a win over Sweden's Scandinavian neighbours from Finland. The Czechs defeated the Finns by a score of 2-1.

The Czechs opened the scoring 14:17 into the first period on a goal by Tomas Hyka. Tomas Pavelka netted the lone assist.

Just over two minutes later, Marek Hrbas doubled the lead for Czech Republic with a power play marker to make it 2-0.

Finland responded 2:29 into the middle frame with an even-strength marker. Teuvo Tervainen got the goal for the FInns to make it a one-goal game.

In the third period, Finland outshot the Czech Republic 10 to 4 (and 30-21 in the game overall) but the lone goal was an empty-netter by the Czechs. Dmitrij Jaskin netted the tally.

Oilers prospect David Musil had three shots on goal and was +1 in the Czech victory.

-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com

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