European Leagues

SM-liiga Game Day: 12-29-11

SM-liiga (Finland)
Assat 2 @ JYP 4
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 24/26, 2.00 GAA, ?923 sv %
Season totals: 16 GP, 10-6-0, 6 SO, 1.51 GAA, .931 sv %

Despite Assat goals by ex-Lightning prospects Kristian Kudroc and Radek Smolenak, Riku Helenius and JYP emerged with a 4-2 win. JYP draws TPS on 1/3.

U20 World Junior Championships: Day Three

Preliminary Round
Canada 5 @ Czech Republic 0
Brett Connolly, Canada, 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 2 GP, 2-0-2, +1, 2 PIM

Brett Connolly scored the nail-in-coffin third goal for Canada late in the second period in their 5-0 win over Czech Republic. The goal showed some absolutely lethal stickhandling moves by Connolly, beating multiple defenders and the netminder on a joy ride through a crowded slot area. It was a man against boys moment. The forward also took a minor for interference in the match. Jets first rounder Mark Scheifele had a pair of goals in the win for the Canadians. Canada draws Denmark on Thursday. Lord have mercy on the Danes souls, because the Czechs made the Canadians work for it today, and they're bound to be grumpy.

Russia 3 @ Slovakia 1
Nikita Kucherov, Russia, 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Tournament totals: 2 GP, 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM

Nikita Nesterov, Russia, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament totals: 2 GP, 0-1-1, +3, 2 PIM

Adam Janosik, Slovakia, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM

It took a Nikita Kucherov insurance marker late in the third period for the Russians to finally put away a spunky Slovakian squad 3-1. Fellow Lightning prospect Nikita Nesterov had a secondary assist on the goal. Kucherov was second on Team Russia with 5 shots behind Yevgeni Kuznetsov's impressive 9 bids on net. Russia draws Latvia on Thursday. The same grumpiness likely will apply to Team Russia. Slovakia gets Sweden on Friday.

Elitserien Game Day: 12-28-11

Elitserien (Sweden):
Farjestads 3 @ Lulea 5
Johan Harju, Lulea, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 33 GP, 11-6-17, +7, 10 PIM

Ex-Cornell forward Chris Abbott had 1 goal and 3 points to lead Lulea to a 5-3 win over Farjestads. Lulea draws Djurgardens on Friday.

European Game Day: 12-27-11

SM-liiga (Finland):
SaiPa 2 @ JYP 3 (OT)
Riku Helenius, JYP, DNP
Season totals: 15 GP, 9-6-0, 6 SO, 1.47 GAA, .932 sv%

Ex-Lightning forward Eric Perrin had 1 goal and 1 assist, including the helper on the overtime winner, to lead JYP to a 3-2 win over SaiPa. JYP draws Assat next on Thursday.

KHL (Russia):
Cherepovets 3 @ Spartak Moscow 2
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, Win, 26/28, 2.00 GAA, .929 sv%
Season totals: 22 GP, 11-8-0, 2 SO, 2.57 GAA, .919 sv%

Despite a goal by ex-Flyer Stefan Rucizka with 7 seconds left in regulation, Vasily Koshechkin and Cherepovets held off Spartak Moscow 3-2. Cherepovets is now off until next Tuesday.

U20 World Junior Championships: Day One

Preliminary Round
Finland 1 @ Canada 8
Brett Connolly, Canada, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 1 GP, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM

Senators prospect Mark Stone had a hat trick and Panthers prospect Jonathan Huberdeau had 1 goal and 5 points in Canada's 8-1 slaughter of Finland. Lightning prospect Brett Connolly also had a goal in the contest, and was named an assistant captain for the Canadians. Canada draws Czech Republic next on Wednesday.

Switzerland 0 @ Russia 3
Nikita Kucherov, Russia, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 1 GP, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM

Nikita Nesterov, Russia, 0-0-0, +2, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM

Russian netminder Andrei Vasilevski weathered 40 shots for the shootout victory in Russia's 3-0 win over Switzerland. Lightning prospect Nikita Kucherov assisted on the Russian's final goal, an insurance marker by Mikhail Grigorienko late in the second period. For his part, fellow Lightning prospect Nikita Nesterov (pictured) continued the theme of his season going +2. No one collects pluses quite like Nikita Nesterov. He also took a minor for interference early in the third period. Russia faces Slovakia next on Wednesday.

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