World Championships 2007 Day Thirteen

Thursday, 10th May 2007

All the action from the IIHF World Championships, from hockey correspondent Jim 'Tambo' Piper.


Canada totally outplayed a plucky Swiss team in this one sided quarter final. Desperate defending and a solid performance by Hiller in the Swiss goal kept the Canadians out until 15:22 of the first period. Nash stole the puck behind the net but completely fanned on his pass. However, luck was on the North American side of the house as the rubber landed right on the stick of defender Jeannin who also totally messed up a clearance. Lombardi was quickest to react who shot quickly past the goalie. The Swiss were penned back in their own zone for long periods but broke out right at the end of the period when Della Rossa’s shot was blocked by Roloson. End of the period 1-0 to Canada and complete domination with a shot count of 18-8.

The second period followed a similar pattern with Canada playing as if it was a training game with the Swiss unable to do anything about it. Mayers doubled their lead at 29:05 with a fine individual goal as he brought the puck from the corner to the goal and slid the puck far side past Hiller. Surprisingly Switzerland got a goal back on the next shift at 29:43 when Canadian born Paul Di Pietro hit a pearler from the high slot past Roloson who never reacted. At 33:40 with Canada on a two man advantage powerplay made it 3-1 as Rick Nash , all alone in the centre of the crease hit the puck home. End of the 2nd 3-1 to Canada.

Again, Canada started a period by dominating play and with 6:03 gone Lombardi scored his second goal of the afternoon. On the powerplay Phaneuf hit a slapshot from the point that bounced off Hiller to Doane. His shot bounced across the crease to Lombardi who got the first stick on the puck. Canada finished the game with a superb blast from Shea Weber that beat Hiller all ends up. Final score 5-1 and an easy passage to the semi finals for Canada. Switzerland were outmatched and outplayed in every department but go home in a creditable 8th place. Canada march on to a semi final meeting with Sweden.

USA 4 FINLAND 5 (after penalty shots)

These two teams have met in the elimination rounds twice before in recent history and both times the Finns have come out 3-1 winners. This time, things are expected to be even closer as the young US team are capable of making a real challenge.

Finland had an early powerplay with Alberts sitting out a minor for tripping and pressed hard. A neat pass from Bergenheim sent Pyoralo through but Grahame made a pad block. The game was end to end and very physical. A superb mid ice hit by Backes knocked off Kukkonen’s helmit and Parise was caught with a high stick behind the Finnish net, despite major theatrics by him and a bit of treatment he returned on the next shift. It took until 17:03 for the breakthrough, and it came from Finland. Tuomo Ruutu picked up a loose puck on the right wing and stepped inside to fire a wrister past Graham on the blocker side. That was it for the scoring in the first and Finland went in with a narrow but deserved 1-0 lead.

With Hall sitting out the second half of a minor roughing penalty, USA equalised after just 48 seconds of the second period. Larose worked his way into the Finnish zone on the left and sent a neat cross ice pass to Petersen who onetimed from the face off circle that went high over the glove side of Lehtonen. An exquisite short handed goal to tie the game. Two minutes later a very similar play, again shorthanded nearly brought a second, but Lehtone picked off Parise’s shot with his glove. With 24:33 on the clock, Finland had a 2 on 1 of their own and Kapanen took the puck from the neutral zone down the right had side and fed Saravo, who fooled Grahame into moving across, then slid the puck inside the far post. 2-1 Finland. USA came back again at 27:05. Arnason finished off a beautiful three man ove in front of the net when he backhanded through the goalie’s legs for 2-2. The game was a superb end to end affair and more goals were a certainty. Mid way through the period Finland went ahead for the third time, taking advantage of poor American defence. Grahame tried to shoot the puck round the boards only for Lehtinen to intercept and try a wraparound. Grahame got back to block this but the puck went back for Peltonen to shoot and force another rebound of the flustered Grahame. This time Viukhola roofed the rebound. Yet again USA came back at the Finns when at 34:08 Backes passed a loose puck across the crease to Stempniak who scored neatly off the backhand. 3-3 and over 25 minutes to play in the game. The last goal of a high scoring period fell to Finland when at 35:32 Tomi Kallio absolutely belted a high wrister inside the post from left wing. End of 2nd and Finland again with a narrow lead at 4-3.

Finland controlled the third period with solid blue line defence but USA always looked dangerous on quick breakouts. USA drew level for the fourth time in the match when, on the powerplay at 54:20, Arnason on the left wing found Hutchinson free at the edge of the left face off circle and he sent a beautiful one timer high past Lehtonen. The final few minutes were intense and Stastny had a chance to win the game for USA as he picked up the puck centre ice as Finland made a mess of a line change and raced down the middle and pinged a backhand off the goalie’s pads. Two minutes left and Finland’s long serving Petteri Nummelin hit a shot from out on the wing but was flattened by a nasty hip check in the corner. He sat out the rest of regulation time but came back out later. The last chance of the game fell to Stempniak but he could not force the puck past Lehtonen. End of regulation and 4-4. Four on four overtime beckoned.

USA had the first chance in overtime when Zach Parise caused a gasp in the crowd as he pinged the outside of the post with a wrist shot. Four minutes gone of the ten and Cole beat Saravo but could not send the puck past Lehtonen. Finland’s turn now and at the midway point Lehtinen was just short of finishing a lovely 3 man move. The last chance of the game fell to Tomi Kallio who wormed free on the right and hit a high shot that came back of Grahame’s mask. No scoring in overtime and we were into a new look penalty shoot out.

IIHF changed the rules for this years competition shoot outs. Each team takes 3 shots by 3 alternate players until a decisive goal is scored. Failing that the shoot out continues as sudden death with the shooting order reversed.

Finland took the first shot and Peltonen had his shot saved by Grahame’s stick. Kessel missed for USA. Grahame then saved from the recovered Nummelin and Lehtonen used his blocker to save from Stempniak. Final shot from Finland by Mikko Koivu was saved by Grahame but Parise missed the chance to send USA to the semi finals when Lehtonen made a glove save.

Into sudden death and Parise missed when he lost control of the puck and Ruutu forced a good save from Grahame. Lehtonen saved the next penalty from Kessel and Lehtinen came through to score high over the glove side for the winning goal.

An absolutely fantastic game with neither side deserving to go out but its Finland who progress to meet Russia on Saturday.

Semi Final day is on Saturday with Russia playing Finland in the afternoon game and Canada versus Sweden in the evening.