CANADA SCORE EARLY, BUT ONLY SNEAK BY SWISS
Thirty-six seconds. That’s how long it took the Canadians, who were fresh off a 14-0 rout of Denmark just 24 hours earlier, to get out to a lead against Switzerland on the second night of action at the 2019 World Junior Championship. Unlike Wednesday’s game, however, the early tally wasn’t indicative of the direction the rest of the night would take.
After Cody Glass’ quick strike to open the outing, a goal that came before fans had really gotten settled in their seats, Canada and the Swiss largely traded shots and chances throughout the remainder of the opening frame. And before the Canadians could breakthrough and take control of the outing in the second period, it was Switzerland’s Philipp Kurashev who drew his squad level. The two sides would stay even at one apiece only for a short while, though, as MacKenzie Entwistle rifled home the go-ahead goal for Canada five minutes after the Swiss equalizer. Before the middle frame was out, the lead would be extended, too, when Noah Dobson managed to slip one through Akira Schmid’s pads for an insurance marker.
As much as the Canadians pressed to put the game out of reach, though, the Swiss wouldn’t go away. And sure enough, Switzerland would hang around just long enough to put a serious scare into Canada. After a tilted-ice frame in which Canada outshot the Swiss nine-five, pushing the nightly total to 32-17 in favor of the Canadians, Kurashev managed to net his second of the game on a late power play with 1:49 remaining. A late exchange of power plays — a cross-check against Kurashev and trip against Glass — turned the final minutes into a nail-biter, but the Canadian defense and goaltender Ian Scott slammed the door shut to preserve the one-goal edge and skate away with victory.
FINLAND PICKS APART KAZAKHSTAN
In his debut at the WJC, Demid Yeremeyev wasn’t victorious. Matter of fact, he left his first career game at the top tournament with a 5.00 goals-against average in a tilt that saw the Finns, on the heels of an opening game loss to rival Sweden, bounce back in a big way to stay in the hunt in Group B. But Yeremeyev was brilliant in Kazakhstan’s opener, and were it not for the 19-year-old keeper, a lopsided game could have very easily gotten out of hand. By the time the night was though, Yeremeyev made a tournament-best 51 saves, while Finnish counterpart Filip Lindberg needed to turn aside just 18 pucks for the shutout. Leading the way offensively for Finland was Jesse Ylonen, who had the only multi-point night with two assists. Top prospect Kaapo Kakko notched his first of the tournament midway through the third.
SWEDEN POWERS PAST SLOVAKIA
The second game of the 2019 WJC was a memorable one for Emil Bemstrom. A quick summary of his night? His first goal of the game put Sweden ahead 2-1 late in the first frame after the Swedes and Slovaks traded quick goals earlier in the period. His second goal of the game, an insurance marker in the second, stood as the eventual game-winner in Sweden’s 5-2 victory. And before the game was out, he was two teeth short of a full smile. Not bad. Sweden’s Erik Brannstrom had another excellent showing, while Isac Lundestrom and Lucas Elvenes each picked up pair of points in Sweden’s 46th consecutive victory in group play.
RUSSIANS DOWN DANES
The night following an ugly defeat at the hands of the host Canadians — a two-touchdown goal differential made for a long night for Denmark — the Danes were back at it. And while they exited Thursday’s action still without their first tally of the tournament, the meeting with the Russians was a lot tighter than the 4-0 scoreline suggests. Though Russia potted four, bookended by a Vitali Kravtsov marker early in the first and a late Ivan Morozov marker, Denmark led the on the shot clock, 20-18, and kept within striking distance until the final six minutes of the third.
Russia goes tic-tac-toe to score on the power play against Denmark:
1. Emil Bemstrom (SWE): Two-goal night included the game-winner against Slovaks.
2. Philipp Kurashev (SUI): Pair of markers gave Canadian powerhouse problems.
3. Demid Yeremeyev (KAZ): His 51 saves were all that stood between Kazahkstan and a blowout loss.
Friday — Dec. 28, 2018
Czech Republic vs. Russia, 8 p.m.
Kazakhstan vs. USA, 10:30 p.m.
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.
All times Eastern.