Three goals in the second period was the difference as Russia chased American starter Spencer Knight en route to a 5-3 victory over the United States in Group B play at the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton, Alberta on Friday night.
Vasily Ponomaryov scored two goals in the win that gives Russia the first leg up in what is sure to be a tough group that also includes Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Austria.
A last ditch effort in the third period came up just short for Team USA. It was Russia’s first win against the United States at the World Juniors since 2016.
The second period actually started off better for the Americans, with a couple of good chances in the opening minutes. Russia quickly turned it around when Maxim Groshev found Zakhar Bardakov with a breakaway pass, who made no mistake beating Knight making it a 2-1 game.
Once again, the United States responded well with Cole Caufield creating a chance by himself but was not able to beat Yaroslav Askarov.
The Predators first-round pick in 2020 made 23 saves in the win.
After the American power play struggled for a second time, Russia took a 3-1 lead when Ponomaryov fired his second of the game on a one-timer from in close. It was the third goal on only nine Russian shots.
Knight’s night ended after when he turned the puck over in his own zone when he was behind the net. Ilya Safonov picked up the loose puck and fired it into the net before the American could get back into the goal.
Dustin Wolf replaced Knight after the 4-1 marker. Knight made eight saves on 12 shots. Wolf was perfect in relief, making 11 saves.
The Americans had the first chance on the power play less than four minutes into the first period when Yan Kuznetsov went off for tripping but failed to get any offensive pressure. In fact, the best scoring chance was by Russia’s Vasili Podkolzin as the penalty expired.
Russia took the lead before the Americans got a shot on goal 8:07 into the game. Ponomaryov tipped an Artemi Knyazev shot that beat Spencer Knight. It was a goal that was emblematic of the start of the game, with Russia’s relentless pressure allowing them to be first on every puck.
Team USA had a strong bounce back with Matthew Boldy and Cole Caufield getting chances, but failing to hit the net.
Cam York tied the game on a shot that snuck through the arm and body of Askarov with just under six minutes remaining in the period. Boldy, who was originally credited for the goal, and Caufield were also involved in that chance.
The Russians were the better team in most of the opening 20 minutes, but could not hold onto the lead. Team USA had a great chance to take the lead shortly after but this time Askarov made a huge save to keep it tied.
Russia would get their first power play chance late in the first period, but it was only slightly more successful than the American effort with their advantage earlier in the period.
The start of the third period would have suited the Russians fine, as the United States struggled to generate anything offensively, and Russia wasn’t pushing the issue with a three-goal lead. The Americans could not adjust to the Russian pressure.
However, the third line for Team USA used hard work to start attacking, and it worked out as John Farinacci put a Drew Helleson rebound past Askarov to make it 4-2. There was some contact on Askarov, but the goal stood.
Team USA continued to push, with the line of Caufield, Trevor Zegras, and Alex Turcotte putting pressure on the Russians, but the shift ended with Yegor Chinakhov stealing the puck off of Jackson Lacombe and having a partial breakaway.
That rush led to an offensive zone penalty for Russia, and the Americans had a third power play chance to cut the deficit. This time they did generate some offensive zone time, but could not beat Askarov.
A last ditch effort in the third period on another power play saw the Americans pull Wolf to make it a six-on-four with less than four minutes left. Trevor Zegras scored with 2:18 remaining to make it a 4-3 game.
They pulled the goaltender again with a minute remaining, but it was Russia who scored as Chinakhov put the puck into the empty net.
The United States play Austria on Saturday, while the Russians play next on Sunday against the Czech Republic.
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The Canadian Press
Canadian international Mark-Anthony Kaye has been elected to the Major League Soccer Players Association executive board. The 26-year-old Los Angeles FC midfielder, along with Jalil Anibaba (Nashville SC) and Victor Ulloa (Inter Miami CF), was elected to a three-year term. The executive board serves as the decision- and policy-making body of the Players Association with its members serving as the MLSPA’s chief officers. “The leadership and hard work of our executive board members, both past and present, has made the MLSPA into what it is today,” MLSPA executive director Bob Foose said in a statement. “I want to congratulate our newest board members, and those who are returning, and thank them for their commitment to serving their fellow players and continuing to grow and improve the MLSPA.” Foose thanked departing board members Jeff Larentowicz and Luis Robles. Other current members of the executive board are Scott Caldwell (New England Revolution), Ethan Finlay (Minnesota United), Clint Irwin (Colorado Rapids), Eric Miller (Nashville) and Patrick Mullins (Toronto FC). The MLS and MLSPA are currently at loggerheads over the league’s decision to trigger a “force majeure” clause in the collective bargaining agreement to reopen negotiations on the CBA signed in January 2019. The league has said it lost nearly US$1 billion last season due to the global pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15. 2021 The Canadian Press
Laine 'pissed' to miss Gordie Howe hat trick – TSN
Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine had a productive opening game of the season, scoring the overtime winner as part of a three-point night in Thursday’s 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames.
Laine, however, was not happy to wind up with only a minor penalty for roughing after dropping the gloves with Matthew Tkachuk as part of a skirmish late in the second period.
“I was pissed off because that would have been a Gordie Howe hat trick,” Laine said after the win. “That one time when I drop my gloves, I get a two-minute penalty. So that’s kind of embarrassing.”
Laine went after Noah Hanifin after the Flames defenceman cross-checked Jets forward Kyle Connor behind the Calgary net, with Tkachuk jumping in soon after.
Hanifin received a minor penalty for cross-checking on the play, while Laine and Tkachuk both picked up roughing minors. Laine has never been assessed a fighting major.
“It gets the team fired up,” Jets forward Nik Ehlers said of Laine’s actions. “I’ve maybe been a little bit in his head in the last week, saying he hasn’t fought yet and when is it going to happen? I think he took that a little personal. He stood up for his teammate. It fires the guys up. Patty’s a big boy, and he went in there today and showed that. It’s exciting, it gets the boys going, it always does. And he got himself buzzing, too. It’s exciting for us.”
The Jets won’t face the Flames again until Feb. 1, when they will play the first of four consecutive games against Calgary – three of which will be on home ice.
Laine winner caps sparkling performance as Jets extinguish Flames in overtime – CBC.ca
Patrik Laine let his play on the ice speak volumes Thursday night with a three-point performance that should squash questions about his committment to the Winnipeg Jets.
“Hopefully I can just build off that game,” Laine said after the victory. “There’s a lot of things I need to look at. The three points isn’t going to tell the whole truth of the game. But it’s a good start.”
His big night comes after Laine’s agent made comments during the off-season suggesting that both the powerful forward and the Jets could benefit from his being traded. Laine ducked questions on the subject as training camp opened.
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His commitment to the team seemed clear Thursday as Laine not only lit up the scoreboard, but stood up for his teammate.
With less than a minute to go in the second period, Calgary’s Noah Hanifin cross-checked Laine’s linemate Kyle Connor into the boards.
Laine responded by going after Hanifin and a scuffle ensued, with Laine and Flames left-winger Matthew Tkachuk exchanging blows.
“That’s just the type of guy he is. He’ll go to battle for his teammates,” Connor said. “He’s a pretty selfless guy and I think you can see that. I have his back out there and vice versa. He’s just an all-around great teammate, I’d say.”
Hanifin was called for cross-checking, and Laine and Tkachuk were each sent to the box for roughing.
It was somewhat of a disappointing result for Laine, who rarely drops the gloves and was hoping he’d register a Gordie Howe hat trick — a goal, an assist and a fight.
“The one time I drop my gloves, I get a two-minute penalty. So that’s kind of embarrassing,” he said.
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The tussle helped ignite a Winnipeg (1-0-0) side that was tepid at times on Thursday.
Calgary (0-0-1) dominated play through much of the first period, starting just 4:28 in when Tkachuk scored on the second shot of the game with a deflection in front of the Jets’ net.
Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm added goals before the end of the first frame, and the Flames held a 3-1 lead heading into the break.
During the intermission, Jets coach Paul Maurice went into the locker room and told his group to relax. His words changed the way the group played heading into the second period, said Paul Stastny.
“Sometimes when you’re kind of thinking too much, your feet are in quicksand, you’re looking around too much. Everyone was kind of hoping for things to happen,” he said. “The first game of the season it always kind of happens like that. I think it’s just nerves, in a sense.”
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Thirty-four seconds into the second period, Nikolaj Ehlers took a shot from the slot and, while Jacob Markstrom made the stop, he couldn’t control the rebound. The puck squirted out to Mark Schiefele who popped it in from the side of the net to make it 3-2.
Connor’s power-play goal evened the score at 3-3, and Laine buried the winner 1:18 into overtime, streaking from deep in his own end all the way past the Calgary blue line. He fanned on his first shot but quickly recovered and beat Markstrom on his second attempt.
Laine has worked harder in training camp than any other time during his career in Winnipeg, and is bigger, stronger and more mature than ever before, Maurice said.
“He’s a very driven young man. He wants to be great. And sometimes you have to learn how that unfolds,” the coach said. “What he got tonight he earned. He didn’t get lucky, he didn’t have a bunch of bounces go for him. He just worked and worked.”
Markstrom was making his debut for Calgary after signing a six-year, $36-million US deal in free agency and stopped 30-of-34 shots Thursday.
Connor Hellebuyck, the NHL’s reigning Vezina winner, had 23 saves for Winnipeg.
The game was a rematch of last year’s playoff series where the Flames dispatched with the Jets in four games in the qualifying round.
It was also the first of nine meetings between the two clubs in the pandemic-condensed 56-game season.
The Flames will host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, and the Jets are set to visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.
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