Canadians win another classic

The last few years, every game between the U.S. and Canada at the World Juniors has been a classic and tonight’s was no different.

The U.S. stormed to a 3-0 lead, but Canada stormed back to get up 5-4 before adding two empty-netters.

John Tavares was the hero for the Canadians, tallying a hat trick. He had Canada’s first two goals, which were key in comeback. Cody Hodgson also had a goal and two assists and P.K. Subban had three assists.

America’s leader was BU defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who had a goal and an assist.

UND’s rep Danny Kristo had a nice night. He’s used primarily to kill penalties. Canada got four of its first five goals on the power play, but none while Kristo was killing.

Here’s the box score:

CAN 7, USA 4

First period — 1. USA, Kevin Shattenkirk 1 3:49; 2. USA, Jimmy Hayes 2 (Aaron Palushaj, Eric Tangradi) 7:15 (pp); 3. USA, Jim O’Brien 1 (Kevin Shattenkirk, Drayson Bowman) 12:35; 4. CAN, John Tavares 6 (Cody Hodgson, P.K. Subban) 14:55 (pp); 5. CAN, John Tavares 7 15:43; 6. CAN, Jordan Eberle (Cody Hodgson, P.K. Subban) 18:10 (pp)

Second period – 7. CAN, Zach Boychuk (Thomas Hickey, Chris DiDomenico) :37 (pp); 8. USA, Jonathan Blum (Jordan Schroeder, Cade Fairchild) 3:40 (pp); 9. CAN, Cody Hodgson (Ryan Ellis, P.K. Subban) 6:56 (pp)

Third period – 10. CAN, John Tavares (Angelo Esposito) 19:13 (en); 11. CAN, Tyler Ennis (Evander Kane) 19:50 (en)

Saves — USA: Thomas McCollum 22; CAN: Dustin Tokarski 23

Here’s how the medal round shapes up:

Quarterfinals

Russia vs. Czech Republic, 2:30 p.m. Friday
USA vs. Slovakia, 6:30 p.m. Friday

Semifinals

Sweden vs. USA/Slovakia winner, 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Canada vs. Russia/Czech winner, 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Medal games

Bronze, 2:30 p.m. Monday
Gold, 6:30 p.m. Monday

Weekly Wednesday update

There were a couple of topics of discussion at this week’s meeting with the local media.

First was re-hashing what happened at the GLI. Second was moving on to Bemidji State. Third was the chatter about the World Junior matchup between the U.S. and Canada tonight.

Several of the players have made plans to watch the game and cheer for their country.

The one injury update is that Mario Lamoureux will not be available to play this weekend. Lamoureux had his appendix taken out over Christmas break.

Coach Dave Hakstol said that Lamoureux is progressing well and that Lamoureux would probably tell you he’s ready to play.

Hakstol said that on the team’s trip back from Detroit, they ran into Rylan Kaip at the airport. Kaip was on his way to Manitoba, where he ended up scoring his first professional goal.

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Brian Lee scores first NHL goal

Former Sioux defenseman Brian Lee scored his first NHL goal on Tuesday night and it was a big one.

Lee’s power-play tally stood as the game-winning goal for the Ottawa Senators in a 3-2 victory over the Edmontoin Oilers. It was Ottawa’s first road win since October.

The former Moorhead High standout has been moving from Ottawa to its AHL affiliate, Binghamton, throughout the year. This was his 11th game with the Sens.

Lee played six regular-season and four playoff games with Ottawa last season.

Here’s the video…

Look for Toews to start in All-Star Game

Fan voting determines the starters for the NHL All-Star Game and Jonathan Toews and two others are opening up a big lead in the Western Conference.

The All-Star Game is being held in Montreal on Jan. 25. Rosters will probably be announced within two weeks. As it stands, Toews has nearly double the votes of the fourth-place guy.

So unless something wacky happens with the voting in the next few days, Toews will be an NHL captain and all-star starter before his 21st birthday.

Unfortunately for Zach Parise, New Jersey fans haven’t come through. He’s not even close to being top three, but he’ll certainly be picked for the game. He and Alexander Ovechkin are the only players who rank in the top five in the NHL in both points and goals.

Western Conference forward voting

1. Patrick Kane, Chicago, 774,062
2. Jonathan Toews, Chicago, 674,583
3. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim, 607,189
4. Marian Hossa, Detroit, 385,106
5. Jarome Iginla, Calgary, 383,917
6. Joe Thornton, San Jose, 379,609

Kristo, U.S. hammer the Borats

Danny Kristo scored his first goal of the World Junior Championship as the Americans destroyed Kazakhstan 12-0 this evening.

Kristo scored an even-strength goal at 7:12 of the second period. Wisconin’s Ryan McDonagh assisted on it.

Michigan’s Aaron Palushaj led the American attack with two goals and two assists. He had eight shots on goal, two fewer than the Borats.

BU’s Colin Wilson also had two goals. Other multi-point guys: James vanRiemsdyk (1-2–3), Ian Cole (1-2–3), Kevin Shattenkirk (0-3–3), Mike Hoeffel (1-1–2), Matt Rust (1-1–2), Jordan Schroeder (0-2–2), Cade Fairchild (0-2–2) and Jim O’Brien (0-2–2).

This sets up a showdown against the Canadians at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night. It’s two undefeated teams playing for a bye to the semifinals. The game will be on NHL Network.

For tonight’s box score:

USA 12, KAZAK 0

First period — 1. USA, Ian Cole 1 (Kevin Shattenkirk, Jordan Schroeder) 16:26 (pp); 2. USA, Aaron Palushaj 1 (Matt Rust, Mike Hoeffel) 17:07; 3. USA, Drayson Bowman 3 (Cade Fairchild, Jim O’Brien) 18:59

Second period – 4. USA, Colin Wilson 2 (James vanRiemsdyk, Jordan Schroeder) :52; 5. USA, Colin Wilson 3 (James vanRiemsdyk, Ian Cole) 1:11; 6. USA, James vanRiemsdyk 4 (Kevin Shattenkirk, Ian Cole) 5:34 (pp); 7. USA, Danny Kristo 1 (Ryan McDonagh) 7:12; 8. USA, Aaron Palushaj 2 (Cade Fairchild, Blake Kessel) 12:28

Third period – 9. USA, Mike Hoeffel 1 10:08 (pp); 10. USA, Jimmy Hayes 1 (Jim O’Brien, Kevin Shattenkirk) 13:59; 11. USA, Mitch Wahl 1 (Aaron Palushaj) 15:02; 12. USA, Matt Rust 3 (Aaron Palushaj, Eric Tangradi) 19:55

Saves — USA: Thomas McCollum 10, KAZAK: Andrei Yankov 49

Getting to three is the key

You don’t need to be a PairWise expert to know that the Great Lakes Invitational will hurt UND in the all-important rankings. But just how much did it hurt?

Jim Dahl of SiouxSports.com is very good with numbers and always has interesting and accurate commentaries on the PairWise. He showed how different things would have been had UND swept the GLI. Read that here.

Going forward, there is so much of the season left that it is tough to say what UND needs to do in order to get in the top 12 or 13. But it’s not going to be easy, that’s for sure.

One positive the Sioux have going for them: They have some good teams left on the schedule. Yes, that means getting wins won’t be easy. But if they do get wins against the likes of Denver, Minnesota, Colorado College and Wisconsin, it will have a bigger impact on the RPI.

One negative UND has going against it: The WCHA hasn’t been as good in nonconference play this year. In past years, the league has gotten about five teams in to the NCAAs. That probably won’t happen this year because of the nonconference record.

Back to last weekend….

After the Sioux lost a pair of 2-1 games, I’m quite surprised at the angst directed at a defense-first defenseman who is playing his first regular-season games in two and a half months (unless people are not actually serious and just doing it for the sake of argument).

Joe Finley was fine this weekend. He did his best to inject some offense, too. He hit the post on Saturday and sent Matt Frattin on a pair of rushes with on-the-tape outlet passes from his own zone to the opposite blue line (probably Finley’s most overlooked quality).

The problem, obviously, was that the Sioux didn’t score goals.

I don’t know if there’s anything to this, but look at some of UND’s tough losses this year: Michigan State (1 goal), Michigan Tech (1 goal), Cornell (1 goal), Minnesota-Duluth (1 goal), Alaska-Anchorage (2 goals). All of those teams are ones that perfer the shut-it-down, pack-it-in, tight defensive 2-1 type of games.

Michigan Tech’s wins this year: 3-2, 4-2, 2-1, 1-0, 2-1.

Michigan State’s wins: 3-1, 2-1, 2-0, 3-1, 2-1.

Cornell’s wins: 1-0, 4-1, 2-1, 3-1, 2-1, 4-1, 1-0, 3-2.

These teams aren’t playing wide-open games winning shootouts. They win by doing what they did to UND. The Sioux, other than one night against Cornell, haven’t found a way to break through against them.

Three is the key

That brings us to what is shaping up to be the story of this team.

After the St. Cloud State series, coach Dave Hakstol said that his team is not an offensive juggernaut, but if they can put up three or four goals each game, they should be hard to beat.

That’s definitely been the case.

When the Sioux get to three, they are 9-1. When they don’t, they are 0-9-1.

The last three losses have been 2-1 games. You get to three in those contests, and you’re on an eight-game winning streak.

They two losses before that were 3-1 and 3-2 to Duluth and Anchorage. You get to three in those, too, and you’re unbeaten in 12.

You’ve got to believe that the three-goal mark will again be the story this weekend against Bemidji State.

When the Beavers allows three goals, they are 0-8. When they allow two or fewer, they are 8-0.

Forbort joins U17s for tourney

UND defenseman recruit Derek Forbort accepted an invite from the U.S. Under-17 team to compete in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Almost the entire U.S. roster is made up of players who are with the National Team Development Program. But they invite a couple of extras to play in some tournaments.

Forbort, who is a junior at Duluth East, accepted and is in British Columbia participating in the 10-team tournament right now.

Americans get by Czechs

Team USA is 2-0 at the World Junior Championship and it appears a New Year’s Eve showdown against Canada is right around the corner.

The Americans beat Czech Republic 4-3 on Sunday night.

Jordan Schroeder continued his brilliance at the tournament by scoring two goals and adding an assist. James vanRiemsdyk had a goal and an assist, for the U.S., which was up 4-1. BU defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk also had a two-point night with two assists.

The Americans should get by Kazakhstan on Tuesday and the Canadians should get by the Germans. That would mean the winner of the New Year’s Eve game will get a bye to the semifinals.

USA 4, CZE 3

First period — 1. US, Jordan Schroeder (Kevin Shattenkirk, Colin Wilson) 13:00 (pp)

Second period — 2. CZE, Ondrej Roman (Zdenek Okal, Radko Gudas) 5:14 ; 3. US, Matt Rust (Jonathan Blum) 11:46; 4. US, James vanRiemsdyk (Kevin Shattenkirk, Jordan Schroeder) 18:34 (pp)

Third period — 5. US, Jordan Schroeder (James vanRiemsdyk) 3:43; 6. CZE, Martin Paryzek (Roman Szturc, Tomas Kubalik) 7:02; 7. CZE, Jan Kana (Tomas Kundratek, Ondrej Roman) 16:43 (pp)

Goalie saves — US: Thomas McCullum 24; CZE: Dominik Furch 23

 

Former Sioux top five

It was a shorter week in the NHL because all teams took Christmas Eve and Christmas off. But there were still some nice plays from former Sioux players. Here is this week’s top five.

5. Jason Blake uses his quick hands to score in front of the net.

 

4. Travis Zajac helps set up Zach Parise for a goal in front.

3. Zach Parise gets an assist on a Travis Zajac goal — a one-timer.

2. Drew Stafford makes a backhand drop pass to set up a goal.

1. It may not be the most beautiful thing, but Matt Smaby collected his first NHL point with this assist. He comes within an inch of scoring his first NHL goal.