Following Tuesday's dramatic overtime victory over Switzerland, Canada returned to action Friday as the top-seeded team in Group F. Later in the day, third-ranked Sweden took on France. CANADA VS. UNITED STATES
The Qualification Round got underway today with one of the greatest international hockey rivalries
After falling in a disappointing defeat 48 hours prior, USA was desperate to avenge the 6-2 loss with a more positive result in the Olympic Gold Medal rematch vs. Canada.
As such, a swap in net helped accommodate the evenly matched scoreboard for much of the game. Al Montoya struggled, surrendering six goals in Wednesday’s game vs. Sweden, so ex-Oiler Ty Conklin entered the fold as the Americans’ new netminder.
Team Canada peppered Conklin with 14 opening period shots, while USA responded with four through 20 minutes. The best chance early came courtesy of Oilers representative Jordan Eberle
, who gathered the puck at the goalmouth with a wide-open cage to shoot for, but the puck hopped and escaped the rookie’s grasp, nullifying Canada’s opportunity to record the icebreaker.
Canada’s offensive onslaught continued in the middle period, but Conklin -- and his goal posts -- were equal to the task. In the opening four minutes, the Canadians struck iron thrice, with Chris Stewart, Carlo Colaiacovo and Cal Clutterbuck denting the frame.
Immediately following that, however, USA opened the scoring as Mike Komisarek’s weak point shot arched through a congestion of players, sliding past Canadian netminder James Reimer to set the score 1-0 at 4:13.
Canada was quick to respond, ultimately solving the early heroics of Conklin as defenceman Brent Burns pounced on an end-board rebound opportunity 3:07 later. Burns’ spectacular acrobatic attempt trickled past the out-of-position keeper to even the score.
In search of the go-ahead tally, Canada’s 0-4 power-play went to work when Jack Johnson was assessed a cross-checking minor at 11:38. The man-advantage opportunity passed without incident, but USA was poised to make an impact moments later.
Nine seconds after his penalty expired, Johnson took a pass from Blake Wheeler and skated in alone on Reimer. His slick backhand move beat the Canadian goaltender, putting the Americans ahead 2-1.
Canada entered the third with a 30-11 advantage on the shot clock, and was prepared to make those chances count with some early pressure. John Tavares did just that, tying the game at 3:17 when he scooped his own rebound and snapped the puck past a scrambling Conklin.
2:05 later, Canada took the lead when the power-play finally cracked USA’s 94-percent tournament PK execution. Wasting no time, Jason Spezza walked into a bullet that beat Conklin under the bar, setting the score 3-2.
A determined USA squad squared the score with a man-advantage marker of their own at 11:17 when Derek Stepan solved Reimer with another powerful shot through the wickets.
The game eventually pressed into overtime, where both teams traded end-to-end chances, but were repeatedly turned aside by Reimer and Conklin. With 65 minutes in the books, Canada accumulated a commanding 51-20 shot lead but was headed to a shootout.
The Oiler’s time to shine came in this moment, and Eberle did not disappoint. After Reimer opened the shootout with a save on Jack Johnson, Edmonton’s representative placed a nifty backhand shot under the bar on Conklin, providing Canada with the early advantage.
Reimer stopped the Americans’ next attempt, and Rick Nash added another Canadian tally to seal a 4-3 victory for the red and white.Jordan Eberle
concluded the game having played 14:05, marking the shooting-winning tally and a plus-one rating.SWEDEN VS FRANCE
|Team Sweden's Magnus Paajarvi protects the puck vs a French defender Friday, May 6, 2011. (Photo by Jukka Rautio / HHOF-IIHF Images) |
After the Steel Arena in Kosice was cleared and refilled, the puck dropped for another Qualification Round match, this time between Magnus Paajarvi
's Team Sweden and France.
As expected, Sweden took an early lead and successfully held it. 4:34 into the game, former Oiler Robert Nilsson concluded a pretty play with a firm shot that flew past French goalie Cristobal Huet.
Two French penalties helped Sweden maintain control, and at 13:51, their considerable shot lead produced a second goal courtesy of Oliver Ekman Larsson.
Less than two minutes later, Paajarvi caught the puck, turned on the jets, and roared up the right wing. His impressive speed took France by surprise, and although Huet got a pad on Paajarvi's shot, Patrik Berglund was on hand to direct the rebound into the net.
After tallying three goals on 20 shots in the first 20 minutes, Sweden faced increased French resistence in the second period. France tallied 15 shots on Viktor Fasth in the middle frame but couldn't get one through.
Early in the third, Sweden broke the scoreless spell, thanks to a sneaky approach and masterful backhander by Staffan Kronwall. Four penalties prevented France from producing any sort of offense, resulting in a decisive 4-0 win for Sweden.
Paajarvi finished the game with one assist, eight shots, and a +1 rating, continuing his point-per-game pace in the tournament. UP NEXT:
, Devan Dubnyk
and Team Canada will reconvene on Steel Arena ice this Saturday as Norway presents the next opponent in the Qualification Round. The game will be broadcast live on TSN starting at 8:15am MT.
On Sunday, Sweden faces Switzerland, also at 8:15am MT. That game will be streamed live online
As always, follow the official Oilers Twitter account
for updates on Oilers efforts in Slovakia, and visit edmontonoilers.com
for a game recap of each Team Canada and Team Sweden game.
ROUND ROBIN SCHEDULE & RESULTS
(all times mountain)
Friday, April 29:Canada 4
- Belarus 1
| Highlights Saturday, April 30:Norway 5
- Sweden 4 (SO)
| PhotosSunday, May 1:Canada 9
- France 1
| Photos Monday, May 2:Sweden 3
- Austria 0
| PhotosTuesday, May 3:Canada 4
- Switzerland 3 (OT)
| Highlights Wednesday, May 4:Sweden 6
- USA 2
| Photos QUALIFICATION ROUND SCHEDULE & RESULTS
(all times mountain)Friday, May 6:Canada 4
- USA 3 (SO)
| HighlightsSweden 4
- France 0
| Photos Saturday, May 7:
Canada vs. Norway - 8:15am MT
HighlightsSunday, May 8:
Sweden vs. Switzerland - 8:15am MT
HighlightsMonday, May 9:
Canada vs. Sweden - 12:15pm MT