World Championships - Day One

Friday, 5th May 2006

Group D

USA v Norway

A very young and inexperienced side USA side are taking on Norway in the opening game of the tournament.

Their inexperience shows early on as they take 3 minor penalties in the first 10 mins and eventually go behind on 12 minutes. A pass into the slot from the left boards finds Jakobsen who smacked the puck that flew into the top right hand corner of the net. Anderson in goal may have been screened but I doubt he even smelled the rubber.

The rest of the period was mostly played in the Norwegian defensive zone as USA pressed for the equaliser. No further scoring and the period ends 1-0 to Norway.

Second gets under way and Ryman of Norway in the box immediately. 1 minute into the PP and USA equalise. Hilbert got a shot on goal which bounced to Dustin Brown on the left and one timed the puck over the right shoulder of Grotnes in the Norwegian goal. 1-1. Its Norway’s turn to fall foul of the zero tolerance refereeing and they are in the box again just after the equaliser as Thoresen goes for hooking. Great end to end game with USA having the best of it so far in this period.

On 26 mins Hillbert managed to get a good shot on goal, well saved by Grotnes. Next chance is a two on one break for Norway as Spets shoots and the puck is grabbed out of the air by Anderson. 35 mins gone and Norway on another powerplay and Nilsen drives forward without really penetrating. So far the shot count is 18 to 8 in favour of the Americans. Norway had another super chance to take the lead on 37 mins as Anderson made two good saves under tremendous pressure around the goal. End of the second and the scores are level at 1-1.

Third period starts and another penalty, this time to USA as Myrvold hits the box. This one is just survived by the Norwegians when Thoresen goes for slashing at 44 mins. USA take the lead as Brown skates into the zone and fires one on Grotnes, who saved but allowed the puck to trickle over the line. After video review the goal stands 2-1 USA on 45 mins.

Norway should have equalised on 49 mins when a huge slapshot was spilled by Anderson on to the tape of Skroder who had a gaping net. Somehow Anderson recovered and saved the rebound. 6 mins left and Dustin Brown had a short handed chance to find Hilbert but fails to find him and the puck is cleared. Not before the hand going up again for a penalty on Trygg. USA make this one count and Dustin Brown gets his hat trick on 55 mins. On the power play of course. Super game by the 21 year old from the LA Kings.

Game over and a deserved 3-1 win for USA . Man of the Match undoubtedly Dustin Brown .


Finland v Slovenia

This group opened up with Olympic silver medallists Finland taking on Slovenia. Finland are huge favourites for this game even though they are missing several big players who are still playing in the NHL play offs.

Once again the referees are setting their stall out and there are 10 mins of minor penalties in the first 7 minutes. Slovenia survived a 3 on 5 and on their own first powerplay scored through Kranjc on 8 mins. All the pressure is by the Finns but Slovenia look resolute in the early stages.

Another powerplay to Slovenia and yet again they take advantage as Kopitar shoots round traffic and past Nittymaki’s right post for 2-0. Ruutu was in the box for interference at the time. Real shock on the card here and with 14.50 gone its 2-0 to Slovenia. 2 mins later and another 5 on 3 for Finland and this time they make it count on 17mins with a one timer from the point by Kallio. End of the 1st 2-1 to Slovenia. I am all for zero tolerance officiating but this is ridiculous. 18mins of minor penalties and the players are getting very frustrated by it (and so is your feature writer.)

Second period starts with guess what ? Yep , another penalty and Finland are on the PP. Slovenia survive only to find another player in the box soon after. This time its 2-2 as Miettenen takes a pass from behind the goal by Jokinen to fire past the goalie. 45.08 and its 2-2. Finland falls foul of the referee again and Slovenia take full advantage for their 3rd powerplay goal scored by Anze Kopitar. 47.22 played and 3-2 for Slovenia. 10 mins to go in the period and we have another glut of penalties and after 31 mins it’s a 90 second 5 on 3 for Finland. 3-3 after a huge slap shot from the blue line is blasted in from the blueline at 37.48.

End of the 2nd 3-3.

Third period begins as the rest with another powerplay. This time 41mins gone and a 5 on 3 to Finland. Slovenia just kill the first one but with about 30 seconds left on the 5 on 4 Kallio scored his second goal and put the favourites 4-3 up. 10 mins to go and the game has slowed up and nothing to report apart from another plethora of penalties. Finland currently on their 13th powerplay of the game. 53.17 and Finland score what should be the deciding goal in this game. Lehtonen with a blistering shot from just inside the blue line. The Slovenians are tiring and there could be more goals for Finland before the end.

Game over and a win for Finland. Good game completely spoiled by petty refereeing final penalty count in this was 28-18 to Slovenia. Ridiculous as there was not a nasty challenge in the whole game. Finland look to be struggling without their NHL stars and Slovenia gave them a good game.


Canada v Denmark

No live coverage of this game I am afraid so main highlights only.

Canada jumped into a quick 3 goal lead in the first period with goals from Boyes, Crosby and Comrie and ended the first in complete control at 3-0

2nd period and Denmark hit back with goals at 27 and 30 mins through F Neilsen and J Neilsen. Game turned on its head after 37 mins as Denmark equalise through Green. End of 2nd 3-3.

Canada re take the lead on 43.17 with a second goal for Crosby assisted by Bergeron. Canada all but wrap the game up after 53.09 with a goal from Mike Richards.

Game ends with a 5-3 win for Canada. Not as convincing as one would have thought but this is a young inexperienced Canada side.


Latvia v Czech Republic

Again no live coverage so main highlights again.

Latvia take the lead on 6 mins with an unassisted goal from Sirakovs.

Equaliser for Czech Republic by Vyborny at 19.32. End of period 1-1.

Nothing of note to report in the second and it ends with the score still 1-1. Latvia seem to be taking a few penalties (8 minors in the second compared to 0 for Czech Republic) and shot count of 23 to 7 in favour of Czech Republic seems to set the tone of the game.

Much of the same in the third with Latvia taking 4 minor penalties to the 2 for the Czechs. The Czech Republic were unable to capitalise on their superiority and the hosts take a point from the holders. Final score 1-1

So at the end of the first day, scrappy wins for Finland and Canada, a hard worked win for the young Americans and the hosts take a point from the champions.

Undoubtedly stars of the day were Sidney Crosby and Dustin Brown . Finland , USA and Canada are without many of the stars that graced the Olympics and the big boys might just find the competition much tighter and more chance of shocks as the week continues.


More tomorrow!


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