World Championship Update: USA Avoids Relegation; Russia vs. Canada, Round Two
Here’s some news from this year’s IIHF World Championship:
USA Avoids Relegation
T.J. Oshie (St. Louis Blues) scored a sudden-death shootout goal to help Team USA defeat Team Italy, 3-2, and avoid relegation yesterday.
Brandon Dubinsky (New York Rangers) opened the scoring at 11:45 of the first period. With Team USA on its second powerplay, Dubinsky ripped a slap shot that beat Italian goaltender Daniel Bellissimo high on the blocker side for his third goal of the tournament.
Team Italy fought back, tying the game at the 14-minute mark of the first. Giulio Scandella skated the past the Team USA defense, moving in alone on a breakaway. Scandella put home the puck, tying the game and ending Team USA’s shutout streak at 154 minutes.
The Italians seemed poised for the upset, taking the lead 6:49 into the third period. Stefano Margoli took a pass at center and made his way through Team USA’s defense. He took a wrist shot that beat Team USA goalie Scott Clemmensen (Florida Panthers).
Ryan Potulny (Edmonton Oilers) scored the equalizer, tying the game at 11:08 of the third period. With Team USA on a powerplay, Potulny crashed the net, putting a rebound past Bellissimo.
David Moss (Calgary Flames) almost gave the Americans a late victory with a breakaway chance. Moss tried a backhanded shot, but Bellissimo kicked out the right pad to block the shot to the corner.
By heading to overtime, Team USA clinched its spot in the IIHF’s upper division. The win helped relegate Italy to the federation’s second tier.
Team USA finished 13th overall in the tournament.
Russia vs. Canada – Part Two
The last time these two teams met, the Russians were on the wrong end of a drubbing.
Team Canada defeated the Russians, 7-3, in this year’s Winter Olympics en-route to winning the gold medal. Team Russia, sporting such NHL stars as Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) and Ilya Kovalchuk (New Jersey Devils) didn’t medal.
The rivalry continues to grow, and the quarterfinals match will be no different. Team Russia is undefeated in this year’s tournament, winning the first six games. They also have a 25 game IIHF World Championship winning streak, which started in the 2007 bronze medal game against – you guessed it – Canada.
Team Canada brought a young team to Germany, and its still trying to gel. They’ve lost their last two coming into the game against the Russians.
When asked about the matchup, Kovalchuk said he wished it would come later in the tournament.
“Russia-Canada, it is too bad we meet in the quarterfinals but it will be a big match for us,” said Kovalchuk, the captain of Team Russia. “It is always nice when we face each other in the final but it seems the last couple of big tournaments we have faced each other in the quarterfinals.”