StarPhoenix article (Team USA beats Finland, advances to WJHC semi-final)January 3 2010 at 2:12 PM
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|N. W. Bruin (Login NW_Bruin_GM)|
Team USA beats Finland, advances to WJHC semi-final
By Darren Zary, The StarPhoenix
January 3, 2010
Team USA's Derek Stepan collides with Finland's Jasse Ikonen (L) during their quarterfinal game at the 2010 IIHF U20 World Junior Hockey Championship in SaskatoonPhotograph by: Mathieu Belanger, ReutersSASKATOON — Even though the United States got outshot badly, its playoff game against Finland at the 2010 IIHF world junior hockey championship seemed to be never in doubt.
Indeed, the Americans jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and went on to a 6-2 victory over Finland in quarterfinal action Saturday night before a crowd of 12,701 at Credit Union Centre.
“It was a good win,” said USA captain Derek Stepan. “Now we’ve got two chances at a medal.”
Team USA moves on to Sunday night’s semifinal game against Sweden.
Meanwhile, alternate captain Jordan Schroeder — with three assists against the Finns — moves into the record books as the United States’ all-time world junior hockey career scorer with 26 points, eclipsing the old mark held by Jeremy Roenick. He also moves into third-place all-time among WJHC scorers after passing Canada’s Eric Lindros.
“It’s a good win and a great honor to achieve that,” said Schroeder, “but we’ve got more important things to focus on. We’ll have a tough match against Sweden. They’re very skilled. They’re always fast-paced. We’ve got to bring a lot of heart and a lot of grit.
“We have to win; we don’t have another chance.”
Jerry D’Amigo with a pair, Kyle Palmieri, Matt Donovan, Chris Kreider and Danny Kristo scored for the Americans, who led 2-0 and 3-1 by periods.
“We battled hard throughout,” said D’Amigo. “It was close in the middle, but we pulled it off.”
Eero Elo and Iiro Pakarinen replied for the Finns, who outshot the Americans 44-25.
“We had a chance to play in semis — we blew it ourselves,” said Finland captain Jyri Niemi, whose team recorded 23 shots in the third. “We gave way too many odd-man rushes and they scored every chance they got. It’s devastating, but what can you do?
“We made two mistakes in the first. We were nervous and not ready to play. They scored right away and we put ourselves in a big hole right off the bat. It was a tough start for us.”
Kyle Palmieri and Matt Donovan, with a power play marker, helped give Team USA a 2-0 lead by the 6:34 mark of the opening frame. Jerry D’Amigo made it 3-0 at 12:51 of the second period before the Finns got on the scoreboard thanks to Eero Elo.
Chris Kreider restored a three-goal led for the United States early in the third period. Pakarinen answered back, but the Americans added late goals by D’Amigo, an empty-netter, and Kristo to salt away the game.
Mike Lee, who made 42 saves, was named player of the game for Team USA. Pekka Jormakka was Finland’s player of the game.
“This was a do-or-die game,” said Schroeder. “I tried to explain to the (new) guys that we’ve got to prepare for Finland, too. They got a lot of shots, but we came out on top.
“To go up 2-0 on that team kind of puts them in trouble. You don’t want to get down to those guys, because it’s hard to come back.
“We’re determined to get to that championship game and I believe we can.”
The Swedes — undefeated in the round-robin — can be beaten, suggested D’Amigo.
“They’re a good squad, but we’ve just got to battle hard,” D’Amigo said.
“They’re a talented squad, we know what they have, but we have a lot more than that. We work hard. I think we can beat them at their own game and win the game.”
Bring on Sweden.
“They’ve got a little bit of everything,” said USA coach Dean Blais.
“They’ve got good specialty teams,. They know how to win, They were 4-0 in the other division and they’ve had a day of rest. It’ll be tougher for us to win that game, but we’ll be ready for them.”
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix
|N. W. Bruin|
StarPhoenix article (Sweet Switzerland! Swiss juniors stun Russia in WJHC quarterfinal)No score for this post
|January 3 2010, 2:14 PM |
Sweet Switzerland! Swiss juniors stun Russia in WJHC quarterfinal
January 3, 2010
Switzerland goaltender Benjamin Conz makes a stop against Russia during their quarterfinal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship in SaskatoonPhotograph by: Richard Wolowicz, Getty Images SASKATOON — Canadian fans rarely bat an eyelash at hockey teams, or players for that matter, from Switzerland.
Going into Sunday's world junior hockey championship semifinal against Canada, Nino Niederreiter is a name that should give Canuck puck fans second thoughts.
Niederreiter - who was credited with the winning marker just 14.2 seconds ahead of a shootout - thinks Switzerland's 3-2 quarterfinal overtime victory on Saturday over the heavily-favoured Russians was not just a statement about the team, but his nation.
"I think (we proved) that we can play ice hockey," Niederreiter said. "We are a small country but we can play."
The winning goal appeared to be tipped by Switzerland's Patrick Geering but Niederreiter's name stood on the official score sheet.
With his team down 2-1, Niederreiter also potted the tying goal with 32.3 seconds to go in the third period. Michael Loichat scored Switzerland's first goal.
Russian captain Nikita Filatov was understandably disappointed after the game.
"We should have won this game way earlier in the first period," Filatov said.
Russia got second period goals from Vladimir Tarasenko and Kirill Petrov within 16 seconds of each other.
Whenever Niederreiter touched the puck, the place went wild with the Canadian crowd chanting "Nino."
Swiss netminder Benjamin Conz, who turned aside 50 Russian shots, doesn't expect the crowd to stay on their side in the semifinal against the hosts. Conz said he doesn't mind though.
"It's okay, it's normal," said Conz through an interpreter.
Playing on such a grand stage, and no doubt in front of envious NHL headhunters, was actually a big help for the Swiss forward. Niederreiter plays for the WHL's Portland Winterhawks.
"In junior (hockey), you have to play your best game," Niederreiter said. "It's pretty easy to play in front of scouts, they help me play better."
With the Russians dispatched, the Swiss have the unenviable task of trying to change history: They are 0-17 lifetime against Canada at the world juniors.
"(Us winning) would be the end of the world because Switzerland has never beat Canada in those kind of tournaments," Conz said. "But, I would never (expect) us to beat Russia either."
The semifinal between Canada and the Swiss goes Sunday afternoon.
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|N. W. Bruin|
StarPhoenix article (Canada won't be taking Swiss lightly in world junior semifinal)No score for this post
|January 3 2010, 2:33 PM |
Canada won't be taking Swiss lightly in world junior semifinal
By Cory Wolfe, The StarPhoenix
January 3, 2010 4:15 PM
Canada's goalie Jake Allen (L) makes a save on Team USA's Jordan Schroeder to seal the win during a shootout at the 2010 IIHF U20 World Junior Hockey Championship in SaskatoonPhotograph by: Shaun Best, ReutersSASKATOON — Canadian head coach Willie Desjardins confessed he's "a little bit surprised" to be facing Switzerland in Sunday's semifinal at the IIHF world junior hockey championship.
He's not the only one.
Most observers expected a rematch of last year's semifinal in Ottawa, where Canada beat Russia 6-5 in a shootout. The Swiss voided that possibility Saturday, though, when they upset the Russians 3-2 in overtime at Credit Union Centre.
Desjardins gushed respect for the plucky Swiss squad which played without two of its top defenders, Luca Sbisa and Roman Josi, due to injuries.
"It's not a bye," Desjardins told reporters. "Ask the Russians. They just lost to them."
Canada is 17-0 all-time against Switzerland in world junior competition. The Canadians dominated this year's round-robin meeting, outshooting the Swiss 54-15 in a 6-0 victory. Russia, likewise, carried the play Saturday, but Switzerland's Nino Niederreiter played spoiler with two dramatic tallies - the tying goal with 32.3 seconds left in regulation, and the clincher with 14.2 seconds remaining in overtime.
On the game-winning goal, Niederreiter's shot appeared to be deflected by teammate Patrick Geering but the goal was officially credited to Niederreiter as of Saturday night.
"Newspaper people all write we're Swiss cheese," Niederreiter said afterwards. "I don't know what that is, but we came out to play pretty physical and tough. Now Switzerland is a top-four hockey country.
"We are a small country, but we can play."
Against Canada, the Swiss will no doubt employ the same defensive philosophy that stifled a talented Russian team. And despite being outgunned by Canada the first time, Switzerland showed a willingness to get involved physically.
"We have to play simple like (Saturday) against Russia - defence first, not going into the rush," said Niederreiter. "It's a lot of clearings and, if you have to, make some icings."
The Canadians also intend to shore up their defensive game. Against the Americans on New Year's Eve, Canada surrendered multiple turnovers - and two shorthanded goals - but managed to eke out a 5-4 shootout victory.
"The U.S. had great speed and they were just beating us to races," said Canadian defenceman Colten Teubert. "If we want to win hockey games, we have to work down low, use our big bodies and get on the cycle."
During the past two days, the Canadians have watched reams of video in an effort to identify the holes in their game. Furthermore, Saturday's practice featured plenty of hands-on teaching from the coaching staff.
"We just know that we have to play a smarter game," said Desjardins. "You have to recognize when you're in trouble. There's a time to play offence and a time to play defence, even if you're on the power play. We kept playing offence when it was probably time to change gears and play a little defence."
Unlike the upstart Swiss, Canada boasts a bundle of big-game experience thanks to six returnees from last year's championship team. Even so, captain Patrice Cormier suggested that a more recent encounter - the nail-biter against the U.S. - is an equally valuable resource.
"Guys learned from last game," said Cormier. "You don't have to go back to last year. Last game was a big eye-opener for everyone."
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix
|N. W. Bruin|
Calgary Herald article (U.S. spanks Finland to reach semifinals)No score for this post
|January 4 2010, 7:01 AM |
U.S. spanks Finland to reach semifinals
Americans to battle Swedes; U.S. 6 Finland 2
Canwest News Service
January 3, 2010
American Matt Donovan beats Finnish goalie Joni Ortio at Saskatoon on Saturday night.
Photograph by: Richard Wolowicz, Getty Images, Canwest News ServiceTeam U.S.A. jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and cruised to a 6-2 quarterfinal victory over Finland at the 2010 IIHF world junior hockey championship Saturday night.
The Americans advanced to tonight's semifinal game against Sweden. Canada will meet Switzerland in the other semi.
"It was a good win," said U.S.A. captain Derek Stepan. "Now, we've got two chances at a medal."
Jerry D'Amigo, with a pair, Kyle Palmieri, Matt Donovan, Chris Kreider and Danny Kristo scored for the Americans, who led 2-0 and 3-1 by periods before an announced Credit Union Centre crowd of 12,701. Eero Elo and Iiro Pakarinen replied for the Finns, who outshot the Americans 44-25.
"We had a chance to play in semis -- we blew it ourselves," said Finland captain Jyri Niemi, whose team recorded 23 shots in the third. "We gave way too many odd-man rushes and they scored every chance they got. It's devastating, but what can you do?"
With three assists against the Finns, Jordan Schroeder moves into the record books as the United States' all-time world junior career scorer with 26 points, eclipsing the mark held by Jeremy Roenick. He also moves into third all-time among WJC scorers after passing Canada's Eric Lindros.
"It's a good win and a great honour to achieve that," said Schroeder, "but we've got more important things to focus on. We'll have a tough match against Sweden. They're very skilled. They're always fast-paced. We've got to bring a lot of heart and a lot of grit.
"We have to win; we don't have another chance."
Mike Lee made 42 saves in earning player-of-the-game honours for the U.S. Finland's Joni Ortio turned aside 20 shots.
OVERTIME: Andrej Statsny scored the game-winner 27 seconds into the third period as Slovakia downed Austria 3-2 in the opening game of the relegation round Saturday.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
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