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by Kris Baker / Buffalo Sabres
Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Ristolainen scored his first goal of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on Saturday, but Finland was unable to overcome a brilliant effort by Sweden en route to suffering a 4-2 defeat.

With the teams deadlocked 1-1 at the first intermission, Ristolainen and the Finns endured a bumpy ride for the entire middle frame as Sweden dominated the play in all three zones of the ice. Ristolainen, who earlier in the period took a delay of game penalty to put the Finns down two men, couldn't chip a puck out from deep in his zone to allow the Swedes to capitalize with an Andreas Johnson (TOR) tally in the 34th minute to take a 2-1 lead.

After Sweden went ahead 3-1 at the end of two periods, Ristolainen gave Finland a boost in the early stages of the third when he filled a lane and followed up on his initial shot attempt to make it a one-goal game. Instincts allowed Ristolainen to jump into the four-on-four play, and athleticism allowed him to leap over a sprawling defender and bury the second chance for the highlight reel goal.

The 19-year-old defender logged major minutes in the defeat, rounding out his effort with a minus-one rating and four shots on goal. Finland gets back to work Monday when they take on Russia.


Mikhail Grigorenko

Russia will enter their meeting with the Finns looking to remaining undefeated in pool play after capturing their second win in as many tries.

Mikhail Grigorenko scored his second goal of the tournament, and Nikita Zadorov pocketed one official assist as the Russians smoked Switzerland 7-1.

Grigorenko was all over the ice in the Russian triumph, displaying his hands and vision on several occasions en route to firing a total of four shots on goal. He finally connected midway through the third period when he parked at the side of the crease on the power play and buried a Pavel Buchnevich (NYR) feed for the final Russian marker of the evening. Through two games, Grigorenko has four points (2+2) while winning 18 of 32 faceoffs.

Zadorov, who earned a secondary helper on Grigorenko’s tally, continued to impress on the back end with his long reach and crisp passing out of the zone. The towering defender was initially credited with the second Russian goal when he adjusted to a pass at his feet and fired a shot through traffic that ended up in the back of the Swiss net. The goal was later given to defensive partner Andrei Mironov while Zadorov’s work was left off the official score sheet. Still, Zadorov three points (2+1) are tied with USA’s Will Butcher (COL) for tops among tourney defenders through two games.


In other action, Team USA shot out to an early three-goal lead and was able to hold off Slovakia for a 6-3 victory. Highly regarded 2015 draft prospect Jack Eichel went five-hole off a rush for his first goal of the tournament and later added an assist to pace the American attack. Matt Grzelcyk (BOS) produced a goal and a helper of his own, while Jon Gillies (CGY) backstopped the United States with 27 saves to earn his second-straight win. Martin Reway (MTL) scored twice for Slovakia to give him six points (3+3) through two tournament tilts.


Highly rated 2014 draft prospects Sam Reinhart and Aaron Ekblad each scored regulation goals as Canada was stunned by the Czech Republic 5-4 in a shootout. The Czechs got on the board first, and the teams traded goals the rest of the way in the most exciting game of the tournament to date. In all, six different players recorded a single point for the Czech Republic, but it was a fabulous move by undrafted forward Dominik Simon that ended it in the shootout. The Czechs will look to keep it rolling Monday against Germany.


Canada may be down following Saturday’s loss, but they are certainly not out. After all, the United States was beaten by Canada in a pool play shootout at the 2010 tournament before clawing back to earn an overtime victory in the gold medal game. Canada’s quest resumes Monday with a matchup versus Slovakia.

Round robin action continues on Sunday with the United States looking to remain unbeaten in Pool A when they battle Germany (9 a.m., NHL Network). In Pool B, host Sweden goes for their third win in a row when they square off with Norway.

For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s web site - You can also follow him on Twitter @sabresprospects for in-game updates throughout the week on any Buffalo prospects that are in action.
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