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World Championship

Cats Players Get Under Way At World Championships

Saturday, 04.25.2009 / 5:16 PM ET / World Championship
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Cats Players Get Under Way At World Championships

Panthers defenseman Keith Ballard (USA) skates with the puck as Cats prospect Janis Sprukts (Latvia) applies the pressure in an IIHF World Championship game on Saturday. (Getty Images)
By Glenn Odebralski for floridapanthers.com

The first game is usually a warm up game, at least for the favorites in this tournament. But for the United States, it was anything but in their first game of the World Championships against Latvia.

The American’s found themselves trailing two different times in the contest, but fought back to take a 4-2 victory as Cats defensemen Keith Ballard and Karlis Skrastins squared off Saturday morning.

It was a great start for the underdogs and the pro-Latvian crowd as they jumped on the board first as H  Vasiljevs beat US netminder Robert Esche with a power play goal just 4:40 into the contest to send the crowd into a frenzy.

Los Angeles defenseman Jack Johnson answered for the US however, knotting the score at one 6:35 later.

The Latvians garnered their second lead of the game when M Karsums scored 6:39 into the second as Panthers prospect Janis Sprukts picked up the second assist on the goal. Ballard was on the ice for the goal, giving Latvia a 2-1 lead.

But the US potted two goals to take a lead heading into the final period of play. Buffalo’s Drew Stafford responded to the Latvian goal 4:34 later on an unassisted tally. Johnson then recorded his second of the night and the eventual game-winner with 4:21 left in the period on another unassisted play.

The Americans received the insurance goal 6:03 into the third on their fourth even-strength goal of the contest as Patrick O’Sullivan (Edmonton) beat Edgars Masalskis, giving the United States a 4-2 lead.

Ballard, who skated with Dallas’ Matt Niskanen as part of the third d’ pairing, finished -1 with two shots on net and 15:18 of ice time. Skrastins, Latvia’s captain for the tournament, was on Latvia’s first d-pair, finished plus-1 on 18:55 of ice time. Sprukts was also a plus-1 with the assist and a shot on net on 18:29 of ice time.

*****

It wasn’t a close game as the Czech Republic walked all over Denmark in the teams’ first IIHF championship game as the Czechs earned the 5-0 shutout Saturday afternoon in Kloten.

The game was close in the first 20 minutes of play and the Czech Republic held a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission thanks to Jaroslav Hlinka’s goal 6:09 into the contest.

That would actually be all they need as Jakub Stepanek posted the shut out by stopping all 21 shots Denmark would throw at him. But the Czechs put the game away with three goals in the second and another in the third for the final score.

It was a close game for about the first half the game. But the Czechs pulled away with three goals in a matter of 6:17. Jan Marek gave the Czech Republic a two goal lead with a power play goal 11:07 into the middle period. They then added their second straight goal power play goal thanks to Petr Cajanek at the 15:18 mark. The Czechs then finished out the hat trick in terms of power play goals as Edmonton’s Ales Hemsky connected with 2:36 left in the second.

NHL great Jaromir Jagr added the fifth Czech Republic goal with the Czech’s fourth power play goal of the game 10:46 into the third.

Cats forward Rostislav Olesz skated on the Czech’s fourth line and had 11:41 of ice time. Michael Frolik was not on the Czechs roster for the game.




First Round (1-0)
United States (4) vs Latvia (2) - Saturday April 25
United States vs Austria - Monday April 27 (10:15AM ET)
United States vs Sweden - Wednesday April 29 (2:15PM ET)


Keith Ballard - 1 GP - 2 Shots - 15:18 Ice Time - -1 +/- Rating



First Round (1-0)
Czech Republic (5)  vs Denmark (0) - Saturday April 25
Czech Republic vs Norway - Monday Apirl 27 (10:15AM ET)
Czech Republic vs Finland - Wednesday April 29 (2:15PM ET)


Rostislav Olesz - 1 GP - 0 Shots - 11:41 Ice Time - +/- Rating
Michael Frolik - 0 GP - Shots - Ice Time - +/- Rating



First Round (0-1)
Latvia (2) vs United States (4) - Saturday April 25
Latvia vs Sweden - Monday April 27 (2:15PM ET)
Latvia vs Austria - Wednesday April 29 (10:15AM ET)


Karlis Skrastins (C) - 1 GP - 0 Shots - 18:55 Ice Time - +1 +/- Rating
Janis Sprukts - 1 GP - 1 Assist - 1 Shot - 18:29 Ice Time - +1 +/- Rating

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 71 13 32 7 45
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jokinen 73 7 33 -1 40
J. Jagr 69 13 25 -4 38
B. Boyes 72 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 73 11 24 10 35
J. Hayes 64 18 13 -4 31
A. Barkov 63 12 17 -2 29
B. Campbell 74 3 21 1 24
B. Pirri 41 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 11 .922 2.32
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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