USA DEMOLISHES KAZAKHSTAN
For a split second, there was a feeling that Kazakhstan might have something in them that at least kept their meeting with USA close. That moment came when Andrei Buyalski scored to draw Kazakhstan level only 18 seconds after Oliver Wahlstrom had given USA a 1-0 lead 97 seconds into the opening frame. But any hope Kazakhstan had was short-lived. By the six-minute mark, USA pulled ahead for good. By the nine-minute mark, they had extended their lead. And by the 12-minute mark, the contest was all but over. And all three of those goals were scored by the same player: Joel Farabee.
Across a seven-minute stretch during the opening period, Farabee struck three times to bury the Kazakhs, and the bleeding for the club that appears to be fodder for the rest of Group B wasn’t able to stop the bleeding in the second. Goals from Alexander Chmelevski, Ryan Poehling and Tyler Madden put the game further out of reach before Josh Norris put USA’s eighth goal of the night on the board less than 30 seconds into the third.
While Kazakhstan would strike a second time in the outing with 10 minutes remaining in the third, an almost laughably lopsided contest was only waiting for the final whistle. When the contest ended, USA skated away with an easy 8-2 victory on a night when they outshot their opponents — prepare yourself for this — by a 66-13 margin.
RUSSIA TAKE CRUCIAL POINTS FROM CZECHS
If the Russians were going to keep pace with the Canadians heading into the New Years’ Eve clash between the squads, doing so would have to come by way of a victory over the Czechs, who are considered a threat to finish on the podium at the 2019 WJC. And in the clash between the perceived second- and third-best clubs in Group A, it was indeed Russia that came out ahead.
It took until the dying minutes of the first frame for either team to find the board, but Artyom Galimov’s tally with 2:55 remaining in the opening period put Russia ahead before a late second-period tally by Nikolai Kovalenko, this with less than five minutes remaining, padded the Russian lead. The two-goal cushion was negated not long after, however. Just 47 seconds after Kovalenko’s marker, Jachym Kondelik drew the Czechs within one.
As hard as the Czechs would press, however, the talented top unit came up short and Russian netminder Pyotr Kochetkov slammed the door across the remaining 24 minutes of play. He turned aside all 12 shots he faced in the third frame to secure the 2-1 victory for Russia.
Joel Farabee completes his hat trick by beating Kazakhstan’s Demid Yeremeyev five-hole. Silky-smooth stuff.
Natural hat trick for Joel Farabee. I don’t care who the opponent is – this is a sweet finish pic.twitter.com/U9LPgvL4WX
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) December 29, 2018
1. Joel Farabee (USA): Natural hat trick alone would have put USA over Kazakhstan.
2. Jason Robertson (USA): Assisted on half of USA’s goals in dominant 8-2 victory.
3. Pyotr Kochetkov (RUS): Stopped all but one of 25 shots to guide Russia to one-goal win.
Saturday — Dec. 29, 2018
Denmark vs. Switzerland, 4 p.m.
Finland vs. Slovakia, 6:30 p.m.
Canada vs. Czech Republic, 8 p.m.
Sweden vs. USA, 10:30 p.m.
Sunday — Dec. 30, 2018
Switzerland vs. Russia, 8 p.m.
Kazakhstan vs. Slovakia, 10:30 p.m.
Monday — Dec. 31, 2018
Denmark vs. Czech Republic, 4 p.m.
Sweden vs. Kazakhstan, 6:30 p.m.
Russia vs. Canada, 8 p.m.
USA vs. Finland, 10:30 p.m.
All times Eastern.