Day: February 13, 2022

USA top Group A after win over Germany


The United States men claimed top spot in Group A after a narrow 3-2 win over Germany, 

Needing a win or to force overtime to win Group A, Team USA rose to the occasion.

They made it three wins out of three although they conceded the opening goal and had to hold on at the end.

PyeongChang 2018 silver medallists Germany stuck first and early off a powerplay goal by Patrick Hager after just two minutes, a familiar position for the Americans who trailed early against Canada in their previous game.

But just as in that encounter, the U.S. squad responded quickly with Steven Kampfer scoring the equaliser at 4:26.

Early in the second period, Matt Knies scored to put USA in front.

“Honestly, they’re a fast team, if we can keep up to that pace and play around with them, play physical, I think we can take it to them and eventually win this game,” said Knies in the break prior to the final period on U.S. broadcaster NBC.

That’s exactly what Team USA did with Nathan Smith scoring at 42:47 to make it 3-1.

Tom Kuhnhackl pulled one back with two and a half minutes remaining, but Germany could not score the tying goal to force overtime.

Canada cruises past China in Olympic men’s hockey, will meet again in knockout round

Forward Eric O’Dell, left, celebrates his first-period goal with teammates Kent Johnson, who would also go on to score, and Josh Ho-Sang during Canada’s 5-0 win over China on Sunday in Beijing.

Joshua Clipperton – The Canadian Press 

Kent Johnson and Eric O’Dell had a goal and an assist each as Canada beat China 5-0 in men’s hockey on Sunday at the Beijing Olympics.

Ben Street, Adam Tambellini and Corban Knight also scored for the Canadians (2-1), who got 26 saves from Matt Tomkins. Tyler Wotherspoon and Josh Ho-Sang both added two assists.

Paris O’Brien stopped 39 shots for China, which is taking part of the tournament for the first time. The hosts were outscored a combined 16-2 through three round-robin games, but did keep things close in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Germany.

And while Canada’s roster of non-NHLers had a significant territorial advantage in a game that was never really in doubt, the hosts didn’t have to deal with the likes of Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar after the league withdrew from the Games because of COVID-19 concerns.

The Canadians, who beat Germany 5-1 on Thursday before losing to the United States 4-2 on Saturday, finished second in Group A.

“We played pretty well [against the U.S.], we didn’t really score on our chances and we hit a couple of posts. Tonight we played an all-around good game,” said O’Dell. “I think we need to build off that and just look through to the next game, where I hear that we will play them again. We need to play the same way then.”

Despite the victory Sunday night, Canada will now play in the tournament’s qualification round as the No. 5 seed in a rematch against China on Tuesday for a spot in the quarter-finals after Finland beat Sweden 4-3 in overtime and the U.S. downed Germany 3-2.

“At the end of the day, whatever happens, you’ve got to look at it in a positive way,” said Canada head coach Claude Julien.

“Playing in a qualification round gives us the opportunity to play another game and to improve as a team. You’ve got to remember that we had no pre-tournament games. This is basically our third game and the more you play the better you get as a team, so hopefully this plays to our advantage.”

The U.S., Russian Olympic Committee and Finland automatically advanced to the quarters as group winners, while Sweden also moved on with the best record among the eight remaining countries.

“About all we could accomplish up to this point, we’ve done it,” U.S. head coach David Quinn said. “There’s a swagger to us, and there’s a believability that’s gone here over the last week and it’s put us in this position, but we haven’t really accomplished anything that we want to accomplish.”

Canada-infused China squad

Of the 25 players representing China at the Beijing Games, 18 were born or grew up in North America, including 11 with strong ties to Canada, while one is Russian. The team is made up of the roster from state-owned Kunlun Red Star of the Russian-based KHL, a franchise created to boost the country’s shallow pool of hockey talent ahead of the Olympics.

Vancouver native and former NHLer Brandon Yip, who had three grandparents born in China and is known as Jinguang Ye at the Olympics, is the captain.

But other players, including American defenceman Jake Chelios, son of Hall of Famer Chris Chelios, and Canadian forward Ethan Werek, had no ties to the country before signing with Kunlun.

The International Ice Hockey Federation, which contemplated replacing China with Norway at the Olympics, ruled players in that category met residency requirements despite the fact Kunlun was forced to relocate to the Moscow area the last two seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tomkins, an Edmonton native playing in Sweden’s top league, started for Canada in the second of a back-to-back after Edward Pasquale got the nod against Germany and the U.S.

Devon Levi, who was named MVP of the 2021 world junior hockey championship and has put up incredible numbers in the NCAA this season, dressed for the first time in Beijing as the backup.

O’Brien, a Coquitlam, B.C., product with a 1-6-0 record in the KHL this season, got the start in place of American-born netminder Jeremy Smith for China, which took the ice to tepid applause from a few hundred fans at Beijing’s National Indoor Stadium

Canada went up 1-0 just over two minutes into the first when Street banged a loose puck home after Johnson took the puck hard to the net.

Tambellini doubled the lead on a breakaway, and O’Dell made it 3-0 midway through the period off a sweet feed from Ho-Sang.

Demoted from the top line with Eric Staal and Mason McTavish to the 13th forward, Ho-Sang was pressed into action after Jordan Weal suffered a cut to his right ear that needed repairs in the locker room after getting hit into the boards.

There was a strange moment at the start of the second when O’Brien skated to the wrong crease, scraped up the ice and then realized it wasn’t his net. A confused Tomkins arrived on the scene and asked one of the officials for an explanation.

The Chinese came close to getting on the board on a power play once the action resumed, but hit two posts, including on a Parker Foo deflection.

Canada wasn’t all that crisp in its execution, but Johnson made it 4-0 with 1:57 left in the period when he came off the bench and took a pass from Jason Demers before firing a quick shot past O’Brien.

Knight made it 5-0 in the third period, tipping Owen Power’s shot through the Canadian-born netminder on a power play.

The assist was the first point of the Olympics for the 19-year-old Power, who was selected first overall by the Buffalo Sabres at the 2021 NHL draft.

Finn-tastic comeback, beat Sweden in OT

Finland’s Sami Vatanen #42 skates with the puck with pressure from Dennis Everberg #18 of Sweden.

By Derek O’Brien –

Harri Pesonen scored in overtime to cap an incredible comeback for Finland, who were down 3-0 after two periods but eventually won 4-3.

With the overtime victory, Finland wins Group C with eight points, and will be seeded either first or second heading into the knockout stage – depending on the result of the USA-Germany game. Sweden finishes second in the group with seven points and will be seeded fourth, meaning both of these teams will proceed directly to the quarter-finals.

About the only thing predictable about this game was the ill feelings between the teams, and it got downright nasty at times. While his teams are normally very structured and disciplined, Jukka Jalonen’s squad was anything but at times during this one, especially during the second period, when the Swedes scored the game’s first three goals – two on the power play – before the Finns came back with three goals and two power-play goals of their own in the third.

Offensive defenceman Henrik Tommernes and Jonathan Pudas had two points each for Sweden. Iiro Pakarinen scored twice for Finland.

After two starts from Harri Sateri, the start to this game went to Jussi Olkinuora, their man in net during last spring’s silver-medal team in Riga. Olkinuora showed he was on his game in the early minutes in which Sweden carried the play, particularly during a flurry in the seventh minute when the goalie dropped his stick and sprawled in his crease Hasek-style to make a couple of saves off Marcus Kruger and Max Friberg with his arm.

At the other end, Magnus Hellberg’s biggest action of the period came when he got bowled over by Miro Aaltonen, who was shoved into the crease by Swedish defenceman Oscar Fantenburg. Aaltonen was given a minor penalty for goaltender interference.

The Swedes finally opened the scoring at 24:24 on a one-timer from Lucas Wallmark, taking a perfect pass from Tommernes and using a Finnish defender as a screen for his fourth goal of the tournament.

Just 30 seconds later, Markus Granlund caught Philip Holm with a shoulder to the head, knocking the Swede to the ice and sparking another scuffle. Holm was helped to the dressing room and didn’t return. After a review, Granlund was given a match penalty, sending the Salavat Yulayev Ufa forward to the showers and giving the Swedes a five-minute power play.

On the power play, Sweden cashed in on another one-timer set up by Tommernes, this one from the opposite side by Lukas Bengtsson that beat a screened Olkinuora five-hole.

After that penalty expired, Sweden went right back to the power play when Petteri Lindbohm took an undisciplined slashing penalty after the whistle and the Swedes took advantage again, with Anton Lander scoring on the rebound after the original point shot by Jonathan Pudas.

The Finns finally got on the board with 14:26 on a power play of their own. Teemu Hartikainen fired a one-timer from the slot over Hellberg’s glove after a perfect set-up by Sakari Manninen.

Finland went back to the power play when Linus Johansson was called for hooking with 5:27 to play. The Finns immediately attacked furiously for another goal and thought they’d got one when Valteri Filppula tried to put in a rebound but it hit Hellberg in the shoulder and video replay was needed to see if it had crossed the goal line. It hadn’t, but Iiro Pakarinen did score just seconds later, putting in a rebound after Hartikainen’s point shot with 4:30 to go.

And they kept coming. With 2:49 to play it was Pakarinen again on another rebound and, incredibly, the game was off to overtime, where Finland completed the comeback.

Teen Slafkovsky leads Slovakia to first Beijing win

By Amy Tennery – WTVB

Teenager Juraj Slafkovsky helped Slovakia to their first win of the men’s ice hockey tournament at the Beijing Olympics on Sunday with a 5-2 victory over Latvia.

The 17-year-old, widely expected to be one of the top picks in this year’s National Hockey League (NHL) draft, scored his fourth goal of the tournament, accounting for half of Slovakia’s total through the first three games.

“Before the tournament if someone would tell (me) I would score even one or two goals I would laugh but it is actually happening,” said Slafkovsky, who is now the tournament’s leading scorer.

“My line mates are playing really well and maybe they don’t have the points but those little things on the ice they are doing are great.

“For example today when I scored they were both fore-checking and I just got the puck and I shoot.”

The teams traded goals in a tight first period before forward Peter Cehlarik whipped the puck into the net to put Slovakia ahead in the second and Slafkovsky added to their advantage.

Latvia forward Miks Indrasis tipped the puck in early in the third period to reduce the deficit but Slovakia then scored twice more, including one into an empty net in the final second.

“I try to convince them that we can beat anybody,” said head coach Craig Ramsay. “I believe we can beat anybody if we just play our game and play like a team. The most important part is not individual hockey but team play.”

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