World Championships 2011 - Day 2

Sunday, 1st May 2011

It was the turn of the other 8 teams to make their debut in the 2011 competition.

Group D

Finland 5 Denmark 1

Finland made sure there would be no upset to Denmark as there was last year. A stunning 4-1 defeat to the Danes in Germany was totally eradicated by a dominant display by the Finns.

Finland were well in control in the first period but struggled to make their domination count. There was a video consultation after 8.52 when a slapshot pinged off both Danish posts but the tv replay showed the puck did not cross the line. The first period ended 0-0 and no one in the building knows why as the shot count showed a 15-3 advantage to Finland.

They eventually scored at 3.57 of the second period when a Jarkko Immonen slapshot went in off the right post. It took them until 36.26 to double the lead as Aaltonen picked up a pass from Mikko Koivu, slipped over the blue line and backhanded a shot past Andersen. End of the second and 2-0 in goals but 32-5 on shots on goal.

It was 3-0 just 2.39 into the third period with Pihlstrom driving the net to reach a backhand pass from Pyorala to put the Finn’s in easy street. Denmark spoiled the shut out five minutes later with a neat goal from Hardt as he tipped in a Jakobsen feed into a gaping wide open net.

Janna Niskala, once of Manchester Storm fame, made it 4-1on 52.29 on the powerplay and with just short of 6 minutes left Tuomo Ruutu drove the net to sweep Aaltonen’s pass under Andersen’s pads for a 5-1 final score.

A great start for Finland who need to improve on last years performance and with top NHL defenders Lepisto and Salmela patrolling the blue line, and Bars Kazan top goalie Vehanen behind the pipes, they may well medal this time around.

Czech Republic 4-2 Latvia

The current champions made their debut in the competition with no fewer than 9 of their gold medal winning side playing this season.

The match started at a furious pace with the Czechs having 3 shots on goal in the first 3 minutes. However it was the Latvians who took a shock lead on 9.04 when Darzins jumped on a great pass from Redlihs, who picked up the puck after a poor line change by the Czechs, to score glove side of the Czech goalie. The Czech Republic lost a man to what looked to me like a dreadful elbow to the head behind the net. Number 7 Radek Martinek got up from the hit but immediately fell to the ice. He was stretchered off after a good 5 minutes of treatment. Surprisingly no call from the referee but I would not be surprised if the IIHF take a look at the video of this one. This led to some very tough checking by both teams as the referee seems to be letting the game get out of control. Tomas Rolinek scored a superb equaliser on Masalskis when he picked up the puck after a great run at the defence by Voracek. End of the 1st and 1-1. Best game of the tournament so far.

Shock start to the second period as Latvia re-take the lead. 21.21 on the clock and Latvia break out quickly and Bukarts scored after a sweet move down the ice by Berzins and Meija. Things got a bit spicey after this and Darzins went on a 2 plus 2 for roughing , Prucha picking up 2 for his part in the handbas and Rekis 20 seconds later to give the Czechs a long 5 on 3 advantage. They were unable to take advantage and the game swung end to end with neither team finding the breakthrough. With 8.33 left on the period, Latvia had their turn on a 2 man advantage as Hubacek and Zidlicky sat out minor penalties. Again no breakthrough. The Czechs equalised 90 seconds later with a brilliant goal from Patrik Elias after great work from Havlat and Michalek. End to end play for the rest of the period but Jaromir Jagr should have put the Czechs in front with a minute left but he shot straight at Masalskis. End of 2 periods of thrilling hockey and 2-2.

Goooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllll Czech Republic. 1.15 gone in the third and the champions score 4 on 4 as play breaks down in their defensive zone. Elias breaks out across the centre and blue lines and drops a pass for Martin Havlat to one time past Masalskis. Brilliant goal. 3-2 . 2 minutes later, Elias should have put his team further ahead when he broke through all alone but shot straight at the keeper. The noise in the arena is absolutely deafening. Not surprised as it is one of the best games I have seen for years. Seven minutes gone in the third and the Czechs are on another 5 on 3 powerplay. Nothing doing this time either and the Latvians force a good save as the powerplay ends.

10 minutes left and although the Czechs are leading, Latvia cannot be counted out. With just over 7 minutes to go the Czechs had another chance to put the game to bed but Michalek lost a skate as he was in on goal. The Latvians are looking tired and it will take a huge effort now to save the game. Roman Cervenka wrapped up the game with 1.51 left when he picked off a loose pass by Redlihs out of the Latvian defensive zone and skated in to put the puck through the five hole to make it 4-2. And that was that, an absolutely fantastic game of hockey.

Group C

USA 5 Austria 1

USA were another team desperate to start the competition with a win and after a sticky early phase, they dominated the second half of the game for an easy victory over the Austrians.

It took the North Americans until 14.42 of the first to break the Austrian defence as Kreider cut in from the right muscling his way past defenseman Unterluggauer and shot nearside past netminder Penker for the opening goal. 2.33 later it was 2-0 with Stepan passing down low to Wheeler who one timed past Penker.

Austria came back into the game in the second and after failing to capitalise on a long 5 on 3 powerplay, managed to pull a goal back a minute later when Marco Pewal scored in the left corner with a wrister. 40 seconds later Lukas should have equalised when he was wide open on the left but blasted wide. America rode the storm and Yan Stastny scored on 38.36 as a puck came off the boards to him wide open on the left. He had plenty of time to pull it onto his forehand and placed it into the empty net for 3-1.

An early goal by Shattenkirk made it 4-1 and Austrian heads dropped as the game got away from them. Craig Smith finished off the scoring with a powerplay goal on 56.42 and the young USA team started the competition with a win.

Another unbelievable game of hockey where minnows Norway shocked Sweden with a penalty shot win. 61 years, that is how long it has taken Norway to bag a win at any level of hockey against Sweden. Since the two nations started playing each other, Norway had only managed one tie, in 1994. Apart from that game, Swden had won all other 11 World Championship, both Olympic games, all 5 under 20 games and all 3 u 18 games. No wonder the bench went wild when Berglund missed Sweden’s second penalty shot and Per Age Skroder and Mathis Olimb’s penalty goals gave them the victory. Sweden took the first period 3-1 but failed to take control of the game. Eriksson opened the scoring at 6.21 only for Norway to equalise 90 secondds later through Roymark. The Swedes upped their game and two goals from Patrik Bergland gave them a two goal lead at the end of the first.

Norway dominated Tre Krone in the second period. Goals from Morten Ask and Marius Holtet tied the score and the Norwegians should have gone ahead after a frenzy of attacking play had the Swedes on the rack.

It was Sweden who went in front once again with just over 10 minutes to go as Eriksson scored his second goal of the night but Norway would not lie down and Anders Bastiansen jumped on a loose puck in front of the Swedish goalie and pushed the puck through his legs for 4-4. Both teams had chances to win the game in overtime but it would have been a travesty had either team lost. Another great game of hockey, who said the summer break is boring.


******STOP PRESS*****

Slovakia have strengthened their team with the addition of Marian Hossa and Michal Handzuz after their respective teams Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings.

Further to the awful hit on Radek Martinek in the first period of the Czech Republic v Latvia game, the IIHF Disciplinary Panel are to review the incident to determine whether there will be supplemental disciplinary action. Martinek was taken to hospital and suffered a haema>toma and is likely to be out for the rest of the tournament, as should Artus Kulda for the hit.

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World Championships 2011 - Day 2

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