Two of the Lightning’s European prospects marked the score sheet on Monday at the World Junior Championships.
Nikita Kucherov, selected by Tampa Bay with the 58th overall pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, recorded an assist as Russia snuck past the Czech Republic, 2-1, and Adam Janosik registered his first point of the tournament for Team Slovakia as his side fell 8-5 to Finland.
After a scoreless first, the Czechs got on the board first just seven minutes into the middle frame, but Russia tied it five minutes later to send a 1-1 contest into the final 20 minutes.
Kucherov then set up the game-winning goal by Grigori Zheldakov just 1:30 into overtime to vault the Russians into a World Junior semi-final clash with Team Canada. It was Russia’s eighth consecutive victory over the Czechs at the U20 championship. The last Czech win was 1-0 in the 2000 gold medal game, decided by a game-winning shots competition.
The Russians are now aiming to win a second straight gold medal for the first time since 2003.
Janosik’s Slovakian club faced off in a see-saw battle with the Finland, as the sides exchanged four total goals in the first period to send a 2-2 game into the second.
Finland began to pull away rather quickly in the middle frame, getting four unanswered goals to take a commanding lead into the final 20 minutes. Slovakia would go on to add a pair of tallies in the third, but Finland added an insurance goal with about seven minutes to go to seal the victory.