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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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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