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World Juniors

Canada, USA & Russia Get Off To Dominating Starts

Huberdeau records five points in Canada win while Rau and Bjugstad combine for three goals in USA victory. Kosov nets assist in Russian win.

Monday, 12.26.2011 / 11:16 PM ET / World Juniors
By Glenn Odebralski  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Canada, USA & Russia Get Off To Dominating Starts

The three medalists from a year ago got off to dominating starts in their quest to repeat as medal winners at the World Junior Championships Monday in Edmonton.

Canada (silver last year) took home a 8-1 victory over Finland while the United States (bronze) walked away with a 11-3 win over Denmark. In the night cap it was Russia (gold) sliding by Switzerland 3-0.

Playing in the first game of the tournament, Panthers prospect Jonathan Huberdeau figured in five of the Canadian's eight goals. In the second game at Rexall Place, the Americans used a six goal second period, including two by Kyle Rau and one by Nick Bjustad to earn the victory. In Calgary in the late game, Russia received 40 saves from Andrei Vasilevski as they shut out the Swiss.


For missing time due to a broken ankle, Jonathan Huberdeau didn't look like he was rusty. The Panthers top pick from this past summer's draft (third overall), was a factor all night, netting a goal and adding four helpers (three coming as the first assist variety).

Before a raucous crowd in Edmonton, Canada controlled play from the get go with hits and goals alike and it was the Panthers top pick that got it started with some pretty passing. He set up linemate Mark Stone for the game's first goal just 2:14 into the contest.

Canada would pot another goal off the stick of Brendan Gallagher to give the host country a 2-0 lead after one period of play.

"I think it was great," said Huberdeau to TSN following the game. "We were really excited to start the tournament and I think we wanted to start it the right way. The fans were there for us and were a great support. We had a great start."

After Finland got on the board just 1:21 into the second, Canada would bounce back and it would be Huberdeau setting up Stone once again from a pass from behind the net 1:41 later. The Cats prospect would up the lead to three as he sniped a power play shot short side midway through the second. Dougie Hamilton scored the second power play goal of the game three and a half minutes later for a 5-1 lead after two.

"(Mark) Stone just continues to score goals for us and it's great to see Jonathan get some confidence and start the tournament off with a game like that," Canada head coach Don Hay said.

Tampa's Brett Connolly scored 52 seconds into the third and then Huberdeau collected assists on the game's final two goals as Stone cashed in on his original shot for the hat trick and then Ryan Strome closed it out with a little less than 13 minutes to play.

"In the summer we played together with Ryan Johanson," said Huberdeau following the game. "We had a great line there, great chemistry and now we just keep going and this line started early so it was great for us."

While he didn't figure into Canada's scoring, Panthers prospect Quinton Howden was instrumental as part of a shut down line in keeping Finland's top line off the scoreboard. Joonas Donskoi on the other hand finished with two shots on net and a minus-3 in the game.


It seems that it took a period for the United States to either wake up or figure out that they should be dominating their opponents Monday night.

But when they did, they did it in a blitz as they scored eight goals in the final forty minutes on their way to a 11-3 victory over Denmark.

Despite scoring the game's first goal 24 seconds in off a Charlie Coyle shot, the Americans found themselves in a dogfight in the opening period. The reason? Penalties as Denmark scored twice on the power play, both coming off the stick of Mathias Bau-Hansen. The United States however held a one-goal lead as Jason Zucker and Jarred Tinordi had given them a 3-1 lead just 8:26 into the game.

It must have been a heck of an intermission speech by Dean Blais as the United States came out flying and the Cats first-round pick in the 2010 draft (19th overall) who netted the eventual game-winner 1:25 into the second. His shot from the slot knuckled in past S Feuk for a 4-2 lead. After Coyle scored on the power play to make it 5-2, it was another Cats prospect that extended the lead as 2011 third round pick (91st overall) Kyle Rau scored off a nice shot. Bill Arnold then made it a 7-2 game with the American's third goal in a span of 3:09. JT Miller scored on another power play goal midway through the second and then Rau recorded his second of the game off another power play chance with 3:59 remaining in the second.

The Americans will have to work on their penalty kill unit before their next game against Finland on Wednesday as Denmark recorded their third power play goal of the game to cut the lead to 9-3 4:20 into the third. With that said, and the game still out of hand, Coyle finished off a nice opening game as he netted his third of the match and then Stephen Johns closed out the scoring with 4:04 left on the clock.

Rau led the way for Panthers prospects finishing with the two goals and was a plus-two on two shots while Bjugstad collected the game-winner and was a plus-three on two shots. Forward Connor Brickley was a thorn in Denmark's side when he was on the ice, picking up several big hits.

In the closest game of the first day of the tournament, Russia got off to a great start in defending their gold medal as they held off a pesky Swizterland team by a score of 3-0.

Known more for their suffocating defense on the world stage, Switzerland brought the pace to the talented Russians as the posted 40 shots on Andrei Vasilevski. Unfortunately for the Swiss and fortunately for the Russians, Vasilevski was a brick wall as he turned aside every single shot.

Russia got on the board 8:22 into the first as Alexander Khokhlachev beat Tim Wolf for an unassisted tally.

Holding a 1-0 lead, Russia found some breathing room as they recorded two goals in the second stanza. First it was N Gusev who did a fantastic one-on-one job against the Swiss as he sniped a goal 5:37 into the frame. Panthers prospect Yaroslav Kosov recorded the first assist on the play. Then with 4:56 left on the clock, it was pretty passing from Nikita Gusev to Nikita Kucherov to a wide open Mikhail Grigorenko that set up the forward for an easy goal on the rush.

With a 3-0 lead and a period left to play, it was up to Vasilevski to keep the Russians on top and that he did as he made 12 saves in the final period to earn the best player of the game for his team.

Kosov finished with the assist on three shots and was a plus-2 on the night.




1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
4 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47


J. Jagr 48 16 21 12 37
J. Huberdeau 51 10 27 11 37
A. Barkov 41 15 19 13 34
J. Jokinen 51 9 24 12 33
V. Trocheck 51 17 15 4 32
R. Smith 51 16 15 12 31
B. Pirri 47 10 13 -4 23
A. Ekblad 47 10 12 23 22
B. Campbell 51 4 15 17 19
N. Bjugstad 36 9 8 -3 17
R. Luongo 23 13 4 .930 2.11
A. Montoya 8 2 1 .931 1.93

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