WJC Day 1 Recap: Dec. 25


Russia and the United States locked horns in a tightly-checked tournament opener for each side, with Russia coming out on top by a score of 5-3.

Russia’s first win over the United States at the World Juniors since 2016 featured a pair of goals from Carolina Hurricanes prospect Vasily Ponomarev (Shawinigan Cataractes), who got the scoring started 8:07 into action. Philadelphia Flyers draftee Cam York would respond for the Americans as the two sides wrapped up one period tied at one.

A three-goal second period would prove to be enough to vault Russia ahead for good as Zakhar Bardakov, Ponomarev and Ilya Safonov  found the back of the net to make the score 4-1 after two.

Reigning CHL Goaltender of the Year Dustin Wolf (Everett Silvertips) took over in the American crease in relief of Spencer Knight, stopping all 11 shots he faced the rest of the way.

The U.S. showed some third period life, drawing back to within a goal on markers from John Farinacci and Trevor Zegras. Yegor Chinakhov would hit the open net for Russia to put things out of reach.

The United States outshot Russia 26-24. Draft eligible Guelph Storm defender Daniil Chayka saw over 17 minutes of ice on the Russian side while American forward Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs) skated 15:59.

Game Summary

A shorthanded German squad that lined up just 14 skaters performed admirably, but couldn’t match Finland in a 5-3 decision as Topi Niemela, Henri Nikkanen and Aku Raty all notched a goal and an assist for the Finns.

With a number of players finishing quarantine periods due to ongoing COVID-19 protocols, nine of Germany’s 13 skaters saw over 20 minutes of ice in their tournament-opener. The Finns pounced early, climbing out to a 3-0 lead on goals by Anton Lundell, Raty and Mikael Pyyhtia.

Second period goals five minutes apart from Samuel Dube (Halifax Mooseheads) and Tim Stutzle drew the Germans within one before Niemela and Henri Nikkanen halted that momentum with markers before the frame expired, sending Finland to the third up 5-2. Florian Elias scored midway through the third, but the clock would run out on the Germans who were outshot 50-22.

Former Windsor Spitfires netminder Kari Piiroinen picked up the win for Finland with a 19-save effort opposite Germany’s Arno Tiefensee who turned aside 45. London Knights CHL Import Draft selection John Peterka picked up an assist for Germany in the loss.

Game Centre

Roman Faith’s goal with 5:43 remaining in the third period made the difference as Slovakia edged Switzerland 1-0 in a closely-matched tournament opener.

Simon Latkoczy made a number of brilliant saves on the way to a 28-save shutout for Slovakia while Oshawa Generals CHL Import Draft selection David Mudrak registered four shots and saw over 17 minutes of ice.

On the Swiss side, Giancarlo Chanton (Niagara IceDogs) and Owen Sound Attack CHL Import Draft addition Noah Delemont both patrolled the blue line.

Notably, former OHL forward-turned referee Carter Sandlak wore the bands in the tournament-opener, with another OHL representative in Adam Harris on the lines.

Game Centre

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