Month: November 2018 (page 1 of 2)

Russia forces overtime to capture series in Drummondville


The QMJHL was just 14 seconds away from heading to a series-deciding shootout for the second straight year but a perfectly executed offensive zone faceoff allowed Russia’s Dmitry Zavgorodniy (Rimouski Oceanic) to tie the score at two, securing Russia’s fourth-ever CIBC Canada Russia Series victory.

Blueliner Saveliy Olshansky became the first defenceman to ever record five points in the annual event, hammering home a one-timer for the overtime winner 1:35 into the extra frame to put an exclamation mark on a 3-2 victory while giving Russia an 11-7 series win in points.

Russia’s goaltending was up to the challenge once again as Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Daniil Tarasov took over in the crease to provide 34 saves as Team QMJHL fell short despite outshooting Russia 36-25.

Anaheim Ducks prospect Antoine Morand (Halifax Mooseheads) opened the scoring to bring the 2,719 at Centre Marcel Dionne to their feet, blazing down the left wing to lift a quick shot over the shoulder of Tarasov with assists from Rafael Harvey-Pinard (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) and Justin Barron (Halifax Mooseheads) at 8:42.

Tarasov would deny 2019 NHL Draft prospect Raphael Lavoie (Halifax Mooseheads) on a one-timer from the slot late in the first to keep his squad within one and resumed his fine play into the second as Team QMJHL outshot Russia 14-6 in the middle frame.

Both Alexis Lafreniere (Rimouski Oceanic) and Joseph Veleno (Drummondville Voltigeurs) had grade-A chances in the second, breaking in alone to be stopped by Tarasov as the game spilled into the third period with the ‘Q’ still holding a 1-0 lead.

Russia went to work shortly after the flood as Stepan Starkov notched his series-leading sixth point, finding the back of the net for the second time with help from Pavel Shen just 19 seconds into play.

Team QMJHL would respond at 8:40 though, with Drummondville teammates Veleno and Nicolas Beaudin working together to set up New York Islanders prospect Noah Dobson who gave the ‘Q’ a 2-1 lead.

Zavgorodniy’s tying goal came on a clean faceoff win by Artyom Galimov. The Calgary Flames prospect snapped a wrister over the shoulder of a screened Olivier Rodrigue (Drummondville Voltigeurs). Zavgorodniy would join fellow QMJHL Russian teammate Alexander Khovanov with an assist on Olshansky’s overtime winner as Russia claimed its first series since 2014.

Russia went 1-for-6 on the power play while Team QMJHL was held to 0-for-3, marking the first time in event history that the CHL has gone an entire series without scoring on the man advantage. The three leagues went a collective 0-for-19 on the power play while scoring the lowest output by the CHL in event history, managing just nine goals over the six games.

The aforementioned Starkov led the series in scoring, registering points in five of his six games played for a total of two goals, four assists and six points. Boston Bruins prospect Pavel Shen led the event with three goals while Olshansky led blueliners with five points (1-4–5).

Russian netminders Tarasov (1-2, 2.33 GAA, .915 SV%) and Pyotr Kochetkov (3-0, 0.67 GAA, .978 SV%, 1 SO) were also instrumental in their team’s success.

For the CHL, four players led the way with two points each including Team QMJHL’s Harvey-Pinard (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies), Team OHL’s Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) and Team WHL’s Connor Dewar (Everett Silvertips).

The CHL wraps up the 16th edition of the CIBC Canada Russia Series with an overall record of 63-26-1-6 while Russia has played to an all-time mark of 33-60-0-3.

Latin American Ice Hockey has arrived!

By University of Miami Ice Hockey –SCHC

Juan Carlos Otero believes the future of ice hockey is South.

The general manager of the University of Miami’s ice hockey team since 2014, Otero is one of the founders of the Amerigol Miami International Hockey Association, which hopes to grow the grow the icy sport in Latin America by raising awareness through showcases and tournaments.

“In our own backyard, we have a lot of excellent talent in Latin America,” Otero said. “As the population of Latins grows in the United States, I think it’s important that the NHL looks at being more active in this region in developing talent. Fifteen years down the line, you’re going to want to have more “Hernandez,” Fernandez,” “Gomez” and “Lopez,” on the back of jerseys if you want to grow as a sport… I think it’s time to start planning those seeds in this market.”

A few of those seeds were planted this past weekend at the Panthers IceDen, where teams from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela competed in the inaugural LATAM Cup. Of those teams, three also compete as the national teams for their respective countries.

The first major tournament hosted by Amerigol, Otero is confident it won’t be the last.

“South Florida is the gateway to Latin America,” said Otero, whose family hails from Colombia. “We thought it would be a great fit to bring a tournament here… We have people out here supporting their country with their flags. We want them to fall in love with the game like I did.”

Prior to the tournament, players had a chance to meet several members of the Florida Panthers.

“The Panthers have done a great job,” Otero said. “Some of the players told the Argentinian team that they had watched them play in a roller hockey tournament. They were blown away by that. I’ve felt really welcomed, working with the Panthers IceDen… They’ve made this a lot easier for me.”

The LATAM Cup featured games consisted of two 25-minutes periods with an intermission in between each. All games were free and open to the public, which led to a lively atmosphere of cheering, chants and audible pride coming from the large crowd that filled the stands at the rink.

In the end, Colombia defeated Mexico B 12-3 to be crowned the tournament’s first champions.

“When Juan Carlos brought this idea to me, I’m like ‘Yeah, we’ve got to do it. We’ve got to host it here under the Florida Panthers IceDen, under this organization to really show the community here what there is to offer,'” said Keith Fine, the IceDen’s general manager. “Ice hockey is alive and well.

“If we can just get more kids out here to get excited about the sport and support their national teams, who knows? We’re really hoping we see a strong support from that Latin American community to come out here and watch their teams compete and battle. At the end of the day, hopefully they can sign up, too.”

Like Otero, Fine believes the Latin American community is an untapped market for hockey.

“This is just another avenue to reach that community,” he said.

Looking ahead, Otero said he hopes to grow the tournament from five to as many as 45 teams, as the opportunity to add women’s and youth divisions could potentially lead to rapid growth. In the immediate future, he said Jamaica, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and Chile could join next year.

“We’re talking about 45 teams, possibly next year,” Otero said. “I’m not surprised. I really felt strongly about this. Because this is the first tournament, we really don’t have sponsorship. We have two companies, and one is my brothers. It’s been great. It’s been an effort. It’s an investment, but it’s something I feel strongly about.

“The challenge is really getting ice. That’s where I think [we need] help to put a rink in stable countries. Maybe one in Colombia, one in Brazil, and manage it and start developing the talent. There’s definitely interest there.”

As for next year’s LATAM Cup, Fine said the IceDen is looking forward to hosting again.

“Whatever we can do to help support it, we’re going to do it,” he said.

Opportunistic Russians make the most of their chances in Game 5 win


Sherbrooke, QC – For the first time in the 2018 CIBC Canada Russia Series, Russia is in control.

Four QMJHL additions and a 33-save performance from Pyotr Kochetkov powered Russia to a 5-1 win in Sherbrooke, giving them their first series lead to this point.

San Jose Sharks prospect Ivan Chekhovich (Baie-Comeau Drakkar) earned Player of the Game honours for Russia with a goal and an assist while Pavel Koltygin (Drummondville Voltigeurs) and Alexander Khovanov (Moncton Wildcats) both had a pair of assists. Calgary Flames pick Dmitry Zavgorodniy (Rimouski Oceanic) rounded out Russia’s QMJHL quartet with a goal in the win as the opportunistic Russians struck for five goals on just 17 shots.

“The effort was there, but obviously it’s not the result that we wanted,” said Team QMJHL head coach Jim Hulton post-game. “I thought we had trouble getting some momentum. We gave up the early goal. I thought we started out and had some good legs and then we were chasing the game a little bit at 1-1. The turning point was that third goal. If we get out of the second period at 2-1 I think our legs and our energy are there but unfortunately they capitalized.

“They didn’t have a lot of chances but they’re a good team and they capitalized on the ones that they had.”

The line of Koltygin alongside Ivan Muranov and Nikita Shashkov worked wonders early, opening the scoring with Shashkov’s first of the event 3:03 into action.

After Team QMJHL captain Pierre-Olivier Joseph (Charlottetown Islanders) drew the score even on a wrister from the point, Russia re-established the lead with four minutes left in the frame as Muranov displayed some quick hands from in tight to beat Matthew Welsh (Charlottetown Islanders) to the backhand.

Team QMJHL outshot Russia 13-3 in the middle stanza, but solid netminding from Kochetkov paired with a late goal from Zavgorodniy from Khovanov and Chekhovich wiped out any momentum the QMJHL had gained.

Kirill Slepets and Chekovich scored within a minute of each other just beyond the midway point of the third to put Russia up 5-1 and that’s the way things would stay as Russia climbed into a 9-6 series lead in points headed into Thursday’s series finale in Drummondville.

Kochetkov becomes the third Russian goaltender in event history to earn three wins in a series as Russia has now outscored the CHL 14-7, holding the three leagues to a collective 0-for-16 mark on the power play.

The five goals are the most Russia has scored against the QMJHL in the event since 2012.

“They delivered exactly as advertised,” said Hulton of the Russian performance. “The one thing we talked a lot about is how active their defence are in defending. They do a really good job challenging one-on-one immediately and you have to play a chip-and-support game. I think we got caught a little bit by surprise in that our guys just aren’t used to seeing that.”

For the second straight year, Game 6 will decide the series.

Kochetkov perfect as Russia blanks Team OHL in Oshawa


Pyotr Kochetkov stopped all 23 shots he faced and Russia had goals from four different players, blanking the OHL for just the second time in event history in a 4-0 victory at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa.

Alexander Romanov, Pavel Shen, Alexander Yaremchuk and Kirill Slepets provided Russian goals as they outshot the OHL 28-23, breaking a stretch of 14 straight games being outdone on the shot clock that spans back to 2011.

“It was a completely different game from start to finish,” said Team OHL assistant captain Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds), contrasting Monday’s outcome to the Game 3 win in Sarnia. “They played us tight and kudos to them, they played a good game. We weren’t able to get enough pucks to the net, get quality scoring chances and we weren’t sharp.”

The series moves east to the QMJHL tied 6-6 in points for Games 5 and 6 with Russia carrying the momentum.

“The Russians have practiced and played four games now and they’re crisp and organized so it was tough tonight,” said Canadian National Junior Team head coach Tim Hunter (Moose Jaw Warriors) who has seen all four CIBC Canada Russia Series games to this point. “We didn’t see a lot of chemistry from the OHL guys tonight who just played a weekend of action and didn’t really get a chance to practice together this morning and that showed tonight.”

A second round pick of the Montreal Canadiens this past summer, Romanov put Russia on the board inside the opening minute of action, entering the OHL zone to send a wrister on goal that found it’s way past Hunter Jones (Peterborough Petes).

Jones would come through late in the frame however, turning away Russia’s Kirill Slepets on a breakaway chance in alone.

The Russians extended their lead before the horn as captain and Boston Bruins prospect Pavel Shen cleaned up garbage in the slot with 52 seconds remaining. Defenceman Saveliy Olshansky sent a puck goalward that caromed off an OHL body, inspiring a rebound off the pad of Jones as Shen was on the doorstep for his third of the series.

A back-and-forth second period saw the OHL send 10 shots the way of Kochetkov who was up to the task to keep the shutout intact. Jones also provided key saves to keep the OHL within two, kicking out the pad on Shen from close quarters inside the final minute of play.

After the OHL seemed to gain some traction in the second, Russia wrestled back control of the game in the third as Alexander Yaremchuk struck on the power play 7:06 into the period.

Kirill Slepets would finish-off a second effort after Jones turned away Artyom Galimov with a quality save, putting the Russians in full control up 4-0 with seven minutes left to play.

Russia’s Stepan Starkov stretched his point streak to four games with a pair of assists while Olshansky and Galimov joined him with a pair of helpers each.

Kochetkov’s shutout is Russia’s first against the OHL since 2014 when Igor Shestyorkin stopped all 35 shots he faced in a 4-0 victory in Peterborough.

The OHL wraps up its 2018 leg of the series with an all-time record of 25-6-1 as Jones made 24 saves in the loss.

For the second straight year the CIBC Canada Russia Series heads to the QMJHL tied at six points apiece.

World Cup in 2020 being discussed by NHL, NHLPA

By Dan Rosen –

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association are having regular discussions about staging a World Cup of Hockey in 2020, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Monday.

Daly, though, said the caveat to having a World Cup in the fall of 2020 is the need for labor certainty at that time, which is part of the ongoing discussions with the NHLPA.

“Our position is we don’t want to hold it if there is labor uncertainty,” Daly said. “We really need labor certainty to play it. It didn’t work so well in 2004 when we tried that.”

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires following the 2021-22 season, but the League and the NHLPA each can trigger a reopening of CBA negotiations in September of 2019, which could lead to the expiry of the current CBA following the 2019-20 season.

Daly said the NHL and NHLPA need to reach an agreement by the end of January at the latest to either waive their CBA reopener rights in September 2019 or push the deadline back if they want to have enough time to plan and execute a World Cup in 2020.

“That’s the issue, when are you getting too close to really be able to pull it off the way it should be pulled off,” Daly said. “I think that’s the timeframe. If you go past the end of January, I think it would be very difficult to plan and execute a World Cup of Hockey in 2020.”

The NHLPA does not share the NHL’s view that there must be labor certainty in the fall of 2020 to stage a World Cup at that time, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said.

Fehr mentioned that he doesn’t think tying the potential marketing, promotion and branding opportunities a World Cup presents to collective bargaining is necessary.

“That said, I understand the sensitivity, I understand the timing from their standpoint and if there is a way that we can get all that done, certainly we’ll try,” Fehr said.

The League and the NHLPA are talking about changing the World Cup format for 2020 to make it a multi-city tournament that would feature eight national teams.

The World Cup of Hockey 2016 was played in Toronto and featured six national teams as well as two mixed teams, Team North America and Team Europe. Team North America was made up of the best players 23 years old or younger from the United States and Canada. Team Europe was made up of the top players from the European countries that were not already represented in the World Cup (Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Russia). Canada defeated Team Europe in two games to win the gold medal.

“I’d say our preliminary discussions would be leaning toward eight national teams as opposed to those two teams, but we had a lot of success with those two teams,” Daly said. “So, I wouldn’t rule it out, I just would say it’s probably not the favorite right now.”

Daly said the NHL is also interested in staging an international event similar to golf’s Ryder Cup, but that’s part of a larger international schedule it still hopes to work out with the NHLPA.

“A lot of that is dependent on having a long-term relationship through the Collective Bargaining Agreement, so we’ll see how that plays out,” Daly said.

Daly said the League’s position on its players participating in the Olympics has not changed.

The NHL did not send players to the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics after participating in the previous five Winter Games. There is no current agreement for NHL players to attend the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

“There’s nothing new on the subject,” Daly said. “You’ve heard what our owners’ position is on the subject. We know the players very much are in support of participating in the Olympics. We’re going to have discussions between now and then and we’ll see where it goes.”

Recap of European Tournaments

By Andy Potts –

Russia Wins Karjala

The Euro Hockey Tour got underway in Finland with Russia winning the Karjala Tournament ahead of the host nation in Helsinki.

The decisive game came first: Russia played Finland on Thursday night and finished with a 3-0 victory. By the end of Sunday’s games, both teams were tied on six points, but the Russians took top spot thanks to that head-to-head triumph.

It was a success for an experimental Russian roster as head coach Ilya Vorobyov took the chance to explore the depth of talent pushing for a role with the national team as a new Olympic cycle gets underway. The team had an average age of just 24 and seven players got their first senior international call-ups.

“Overall, there were more positives than negatives,” reflected Vorobyov. “We won the cup and we took a look a several new players. But I don’t want to pick out individuals. We played a team game and I want to focus on the team.”

Among the new faces to make an impact, Andrei Kuzmenko scored twice in Russia’s 4-1 victory over Sweden on Saturday, while defenseman Alexei Vasilievski crowned his first call-up with a goal in Sunday’s 2-5 loss against the Czech Republic. “I could hardly believe it when I scored,” he told the Russian Hockey Federation website. “It was all down to my team-mates, who got us into a great position and I just needed to put my stick down and deflect the puck into the net. We had other chances but couldn’t take them [against the Czechs]. Overall, though, we won the tournament so the guys did well.”

Finland took second place thanks to a victory over neighbouring Sweden in Sunday’s concluding game. The goals came from new faces: Ville Leskinen marked a successful first call-up to the “Lions” before Teemu Eronen and Jani Hakapaa got their first senior international goals to leave head coach Jukka Jalonen happy with his week’s work.

“Everyone who came to the national team for the first time did really well,” Jalonen said. “Leskinen was effective and Arttu Ruotsalainen was good in every game. Juhani Tyrvainen fulfilled his role well.

“It’s a very good start for us and the players will only gain motivation when they see what they can achieve at this level,” the coach told

Sweden took third place thanks to its 3-2 victory over the Czechs on Thursday night.

Russia ‘B’ wins the Deutschland Cup

For the second year running, Russia’s so-called ‘Olimpiskaya Sbornaya’ won the Deutschland Cup. Under the guidance of head coach Oleg Bratash, Russia won the decisive match-up against Switzerland in Krefeld on Sunday.

The two youngest rosters at the event went into that showdown tied on five points after regulation-time victories over Slovakia and overtime successes against Germany. The Swiss looked strong in the early stages and led 2-1 at the first intermission. Christoph Bertschy’s goal made him the tournament’s leading scorer. However, his team was limited to three lines and finished with just five defenceman after a major penalty saw Fabian Heldner ejected from the game.

With four lines to draw on, Russia outlasted Switzerland. Artyom Zemchyonok tied it up in the middle frame before third-period goals from Roman Abrosimov and Dmitri Yudin sealed a 4-2 victory.

Bratash echoed Vorobyov’s views about the importance of teamwork. “We looked at the qualities of each player and assessed our work as a team,” he told the Russian Hockey Federation website. “We’ll pass all our conclusions to the coaching staff of the national team. I don’t want to single out individuals; we played as a team.”

Upcoming World Championship host Slovakia finished the tournament in third place after beating host Germany 2-0 in the last game, which was scoreless for 54 minutes. Andrej Kosaristan had a 34-save shutout in his international debut while Marcel Hascak and Radovan Pulis scored Slovakia’s late goals.

But for most German fans the result was secondary on a day when head coach Marco Sturm received an emotional send-off. During his three seasons he led Germany to Olympic silver and to two World Championship quarter-final appearances. Under his guidance the team peaked at seventh place in the IIHF World Ranking and currently stands eighth. On Monday the long-serving former NHLer will leave the country to become an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Kings. His successor will be found during the upcoming weeks.

Austria overcomes adversity in Gdansk

Poland hosted a four-team contest as part of the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge – and it proved to be a challenging weekend in Gdansk. For Austria, the eventual winner, the problems started when the team’s luggage went missing and did not arrive until Friday afternoon. By that time, Poland had already started its game against Denmark, only for a problem with the ice to halt the action after one period.

Equipped at last, Austria took to the ice against Norway in a game that was moved to Friday night but once again had to stop due to technical problems. On Saturday, at last, the teams could play their full games. The Austrians defeated Denmark in overtime and followed that up with a 2-0 success against Poland on Sunday to secure top spot. Goals in the second period from Kevin Macierzynski and Daniel Oberkofler – the latter marking his 100th game for the national team – won it for the Austrians, goalie David Madlener got the shutout.

Wins for Latvia, Kazakhstan

There were two other Euro Challenge events played over the weekend. In Minsk, Belarus looked to bounce back after relegation from the World Championship top division and showed some promise as it took second place in its tournament. Latvia got the win thanks to a shootout success in Sunday’s decisive game, but the host enjoyed victories over France (5-2) and Slovenia (4-1).

Latvia clinched the title thanks to Egils Kalns’ winner in the shootout. Earlier, the Baltic nation had taken a first-minute lead thanks to Edgars Kulda, but Vladimir Denisov got Belarus level late in the second period. The tournament was also the first for France following the retirement of long-serving head coach Dave Henderson. Under the guidance of Renaud Jacquin, Les Bleus took third place thanks to a shoot-out win over Slovenia.

In Hungary, meanwhile, Kazakhstan won all three of its games in a four-nation tournament. Victories over the host (3-1), Korea (5-3) and Italy (3-2) gave the Kazakhs top spot. Hungary and Italy finished with one win apiece. Hungary got second place thanks to the head-to-head win against Italy but was unable to play against Korea, which went home without a point, due to ice issues.

Baltic boost for Latvia’s club selection

Vilnius hosted the six-team Baltic Challenge Cup, with host nation Lithuania welcoming teams from Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Romania and Japan. The group phase saw Latvia’s B-team, a selection of players from the domestic league, defeat Estonia and Romania to progress to a gold-medal game against Japan. The Japanese edged through their group despite a shootout loss to Lithuania; a 5-1 win over Belarus B secured top spot.

The final saw Latvia win 3-0 thanks to a pair of second-period goals from Sandis Grinbergs and a shutout by Reinis Petkus.

During the event a Baltic Championship for clubs for the 2019/2020 season was announced. Beside the domestic leagues, top clubs from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will play during autumn and until December for the title.

U.S. takes down Canada for 4th straight Four Nations Cup title

Donna Spencer · The Canadian Press

The U.S. women’s hockey team continued its international dominance, beating Canada 5-2 to take the Four Nations Cup on Saturday.

Holders of the world and Olympic titles, the American women reinforced their status as the No. 1 country in the world in women’s hockey by beating their archrivals on home ice at the SaskTel Centre.

“It’s great to be recognized as that,” U.S. forward Hilary Knight said. “We definitely put in the work.

“When you’re in Canada, there’s a lot more pressure.”

Americans continue recent dominance

Knight scored twice for the U.S. in claiming a fourth straight Four Nations gold.

The last time Canada beat the U.S. in a tournament final was the 2014 Four Nations in Kamloops, B.C.

“It’s disappointing. You never want to lose on home soil,” Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin said.

“We’re going to have a hard look in the mirror and really look at what we have to do to move forward and take more pride when we wear that jersey.”

Canada won the majority of women’s hockey finals between the two countries in the first decade of this century, but the pendulum has swung to the U.S. in the second.

The Americans edged Canada 3-2 in a shootout to win Olympic gold in February.

“Definitely we want to be able to beat them in those big games,” Canadian forward Natalie Spooner said.

“As athletes, that’s what we train for is those big moments and those are the ones we want to shine the brightest. It sucks, but I think we’ve got to learn from this.”

Turning point

Leading 2-1 after the first period, Knight and Brianna Decker scored in a 24-second span midway through the second.

Melissa Samoskevich and Kendall Coyne-Schofield also scored goals for the U.S.

Dani Cameranesi had a pair of assists.

U.S. coach Bob Corkum gave Alex Rigsby the nod in goal Saturday over Maddie Rooney, who backstopped the Americans in the Olympic final. Rigsby repelled 23-of-25 shots for the win.

Defenders Laura Fortino and Jaime Bourbonnais scored for Canada.

Starting goaltender Shannon Szabados was replaced by Emerance Maschmeyer early in the third period after giving up five goals on 23 shots. Maschmeyer had two saves in relief.

Canadians fail to finish on chances

The Canadians produced a better start Saturday than in a 2-1 loss to the U.S. in the preliminary round, but couldn’t finish the few quality scoring chances they generated.

The quickness and creativity of the U.S. attack was a handful for Canada’s defence in the second and third periods.

“We have to win a little bit differently than they do. Goals don’t come as easy for us as they do for them,” said Perry Pearn, who is coaching the Canadian women for the first time.

“Once you get behind 4-1 and you’ve been struggling to score goals, it’s a big mountain to climb.

“I didn’t think we gave up, but what happens is now you think you’ve got to make the perfect shot and you pass up the things you have to do to beat the U.S.

“You’ve got to take shots, create rebounds, beat them to loose pucks, create second and third chances and we didn’t do enough of that.”

The Americans carried a 10-7 and 21-17 edge in shots at period breaks.

Finland scored a trio of third-period goals to defeat Sweden 4-2 for the bronze medal earlier Saturday.

The 2019 women’s world hockey championships April 4-14 will be held in Espoo, Finland.

The U.S. women have won four straight world titles and seven of the last eight.

Canada blanks Finland to meet U.S. in Four Nations Cup final


Canada wants to wrest one women’s hockey title away from the United States when the two countries meet in the final of the Four Nations Cup tournament Saturday.

Canada advanced to the gold-medal game with a 3-0 win over Finland on Friday.

The Americans have won three straight Four Nations titles. They’re also the reigning Olympic and world champions.

Rebecca Johnston and Melodie Daoust scored for Canada (2-1) with Laura Stacey adding an empty-net goal on Friday.

Emerance Maschmeyer repelled 14 shots for a shutout in her first start of the tournament.

The U.S. (3-0) downed Sweden 5-1 earlier. Finland (1-2) meets the Swedes (0-3) for bronze Saturday.

The Americans doubled Canada 2-1 in a preliminary-round game.

Canada’s Daoust and Johnston scored on Noora Raty in the first five minutes, but the veteran Finn was a workhorse with 45 saves in the loss.

The Finns had just 16 skaters Friday, which was one more than they had in a 3-2 win over the Swedes on Wednesday.

Illness began working its way through the team after playing an exhibition game against Canada in Prince Albert, Sask., on Sunday night.

Canada had a few unwell players that didn’t finish Tuesday’s 6-1 win over the Swedes, but was not as hard hit by the bug as the Finns were.

The hosts held Finland scoreless on three power-play chances in the opening period. Johnston scored at 4:55 and Daoust just 25 seconds after puck drop.

Both countries were held scoreless on four power-play chances.

Forward Brianne Jenner drew back into Canada’s lineup after sitting out the first two games of the tournament with an undisclosed injury.

Hannah Brandt had a goal and an assist and Melissa Melissa Samoskevich scored a short-handed goal for the U.S. in the earlier victory over the Swedes.

Sydney Brodt, Brianna Decker and Dani Cameranesi rounded out the scoring for the Americans. Goaltender Emma Polusny had 18 saves for the win.

Sweden’s Sabina Kuller scored and Emma Soderberg stopped 34 of 39 shots in the loss.

Team OHL skates to 3-1 victory in Sarnia


Sarnia, ON – MacKenzie Entwistle (Hamilton Bulldogs) buried a penalty shot and Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) scored a highlight reel goal to lead Team OHL to a 3-1 win over Russia in Sarnia.

The CHL takes a 6-3 series lead in points headed into the weekend as Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph Storm) also scored and goaltender Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires) stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced.

“The big thing was our discipline,” said Hayton of Team OHL’s penalty-free performance. “We didn’t go shorthanded in the whole game and that was kind of our focus coming in. From start to finish we performed well and I think it was a great game.”

The OHL didn’t waste any time taking the lead as Ratcliffe scored on the team’s first shot of the game. Hayton won a puck battle along the boards, centering for an oncoming Ratcliffe who entered the zone with speed before reeling the puck in and snapping it past Russia’s Daniil Tarasov 4:55 into action.

Entwistle extended the OHL lead on a penalty shot with 1:55 left in the opening frame. After being hooked on a breakaway, the Chicago Blackhawks made good on his second attempt, snapping a quick release over the blocker of Tarasov. It’s the OHL’s second penalty shot goal in as many years after Taylor Raddysh converted in Hamilton.

Russia kept things interesting before the end of the period though as captain Pavel Shen scored his second of the series alone in the slot with 43 seconds left on the clock. Stepan Starkov centred for Shen who had time and space to lift a quick release over the shoulder of DiPietro, sending things to the first intermission with the OHL leading 2-1.

After just seven combined shots in the first the two teams opened things up in the second as goaltenders DiPietro and Tarasov were tested more regularly.

Hayton continued his strong showing, scoring the goal of the series to this point when he walked over the blue line, turning a Russian defender inside out before patiently tucking a move to the backhand past Tarasov midway through the period.

“I got fortunate with a lucky bounce in the neutral zone and I was coming through the middle with some speed,” Hayton said of his highlight reel goal. “I saw a hole and I was able to freeze the defender and make a little move on the goalie.”

A pair of big third period saves from DiPietro maintained the OHL lead as they’d lock down the 3-1 decision for a fourth straight victory in Sarnia dating back to 2003.

“I think our defence did a great job killing plays at the blue line tonight, making sure I could see pucks from the perimeter,” said OHL goaltender Michael DiPietro. “It made my life easier and I’m really happy with the win.”

Team OHL outshot Russia 23-19, doing so for the 14th straight game dating back to November 14th, 2011.

The OHL improves to 25-5-1 in the CIBC Canada Russia Series, winning its first Game 3 matchup since 2015.

World Juniors: Spain Junior Hockey News

By Kerry Jackson –

Spain’s junior hockey program had a year that most would expect from Canada. Or Sweden. Maybe even the U.S. In 2018, two of Spain’s national junior teams won gold. The U18 boys took first in Group B of Division II in the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Junior Championships in Croatia, while a few months earlier the U20 squad won WJC gold in Group B of Division II in Serbia. Both earned promotions to Group A for the 2019 WJCs.

“For us, this feels like a miracle,” Frank Gonzalez, president of the Spanish Ice Sports Federation, told Inside the Games last spring. “We’re here in the southernmost point of Europe, and we’re showing that we can compete against countries with a real tradition and culture in ice hockey.

“We’re still a long way from competing at the elite level,” he added, “but the work of all our teams deserves a lot of credit.”

Two Spaniards were among the top four scorers in the U20 tournament, Joan Cerda and Dorian Donath Sanchez. Cerda finished with five goals and five assists in five games, good for third overall and two points off the lead. Donath also had five goals and assisted on three, tying him for fourth among all scorers, and was a +6 in five games.

Cerda is a 2000 forward who has been playing in France, never in North America. He had a big year in 2017-18, scoring 15 goals and 10 assists in only 20 games for Angers in France’s U20 league, earning him second in the points race. He is currently on loan to a pro team in France’s Division 2.

Sanchez is a 1999 forward born in Sweden. He has played both youth and junior hockey in Sweden, never in North America. He’s been strong in the J20 Elit League this year with eight goals and five assists in a dozen games.

Keep an eye on the development of Oscar Rubio, a 2000 who scored five points in each of the last two U20 WJC and eight points (four goals, four assists) in the 2017 U18 WJC. He could be a force on the 2019 squad.

Defenseman Alexander Torres-Gil (three goals, one assist in the 2018 U20 WJC) is one of the few Spanish players who has migrated to North America for hockey. The 1999 has played midget and junior hockey in Canada, including two years in the Central Canada Hockey League 2, where he’s totaled eight goals and 14 assists over 51 games.

The best goalie in the 2018 U20 WJC was Spain’s Raul Barbo, who posted a 1.57 goals-against average with a .901 save percentage and a shutout. Those were actually better numbers than those he generated in the U18 tournament. The 2000 also appeared in the men’s 2018 Division II Group B World Championship April. Barbo got into two games and posted a 1.000 save percentage for the gold-medal winning home-team Spaniards. After winning three world golds, he is now playing the 2018-19 season at the Ontario Hockey Academy where he has a 2.62 GAA in three games.

The U20 Division IIA will be held in Estonia in January. It will be Spain’s first tournament in Group A since 2012.

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