Good morning hockey fans! This morning, at 6 am Eastern Time the World Junior Tournament continues as Team USA and Team Russia met in the quarterfinals. A Special treat for New York Ranger fans as we finally get to see both Rangers prospects in this tournament, Brady Skjei of Team USA and Pavel Buchnevich of Team Russia.
The first period was very entertaining and filled with scoring. Team USA stole the momentum very early on and looked in control of the play. The Russians struggled with the speed and creativity of the Americans but the Americans had a hard time getting passed the Russians size and toughness. However it was Team Russia who opened the scoring as Mikhail Grigorenko got his own rebound after a pass from Rangers prospect Pavel Buchnevich, who’s assist gave him his first point of the day. Later in the game USA finds the equalizer as Stefan Matteau scored to make it 1-1. Less than a minute later the Russians got back on top as Buchnevich scored and made it 2-1 Russia, the Rangers prospect tallying his second point of the game. Then, to add to the drama, team USA scored two goals, one by Ryan Hartman and the other by Nicolas Kerdiles as the Americans found themselves up 3-2 at the end of the first period.
The second period started off much the same as the first, as the Americans came out flying. The Russians started off taking three penalties, and managed to kill off all three of them. Not so much later in the period, the Americans went down two men on the penalty TWICE in a row and the Russians made them pay for it, Nikita Zadarov scored both power play goals for the Russians, deflating Team USA’s momentum coming towards the end of the second period and giving his team a 4-3 lead.
The third period spelled doom for Team USA, despite their numerous power play chances that they failed to capitalize on. Team Russia dominated the play of the third period from start to finish, and at the end of the period scored an empty netter which would seal the Americans’ fate, 5-3. Team USA has now been eliminated from the 2014 World Junior Championship.
About the Rangers prospects, Pavel Buchnevich played extremely well this game, and was an offensive threat every second he was on the ice. With two points, he was easily the Russians most dangerous forward and was buzzing all over the ice, particularly around the net, if that’s how he usually plays I’m hoping the Rangers can get him to Madison Square Garden as fast as possible. Brady Skjei reemerged a little bit today, he was a solid defense man and was a key component on the penalty kill even though it was not all that successful. Skjei played his shut down game with a touch of offensive capability and I’m excited to see how he develops on his way to New York.