North American Juniors

U20 World Junior Championships: Day Six

Preliminary Round
Slovakia 6 @ Switzerland 4
Adam Janosik, Slovakia, 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM

Thanks in part to 4 assists by Red Wings draft pick Tomas Jurco, the Slovakians overcame a pair of 2 goal deficits to beat Switzerland 6-4 and punch their ticket to the medal round. Lightning prospect Adam Janosik was +2 in the match. Slovakia moves on to face Finland in the Quarterfinals on Monday. Switzerland falls into the Relegation bracket against Denmark, also on Monday.

Canada 3 @ USA 2
Brett Connolly, Canada, 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 4-1-5, +5, 4 PIM

Canada held off a furious US comeback to scrape by the Americans 3-2. Brett Connolly's first period goal ended up being the game winner. Credit to the already Relegation Round saddled US side for not caving after falling down 3-0 in the first and giving Canada all they could handle. Canada earns a bye to the Semifinals on Tuesday. The US draws Latvia on Tuesday, and I suspect will cut a wide swath of destruction through the loser's bracket.

Russia 3 @ Sweden 4 (OT)
Nikita Kucherov, Russia, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 1-4-5, +6, 0 PIM

Nikita Nesterov, Russia, 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 4 GP, 1-3-4, +7, 4 PIM

Whereas a 3 goal third period lead is a death sentence in pro hockey, it's not quite so in junior hockey. Ducks draft pick Max Friberg scored an extra attacker goal to cap a 3 goal third period comeback for the Swedes and Blackhawks draft pick Joakim Nordstrom scored the overtime winner in their thrilling 4-3 win over Russia. Sweden clinches a bye to the Semis with the win. Russia now faces a Quarterfinal match with the Czech Republic on Monday. Lightning prospects Nikita Nesterov and Nikita Kucherov, who were on the ice for Friberg's goal, took their first minuses of the tournament. Swedish coach Roger Ronnberg perhaps deserves considerable credit for a Steve Ludzik-like goalie switch just before the goal to get a cheap timeout after burning his official timeout earlier in the game. It was a blast from the past for older Lightning fans.

North American Juniors Game Night: 12-30-11

USHL

Sioux City Musketeers 3 @ Tri-City Storm 4

G Adam Wilcox, TC: Win, 33 saves on 36 shots
Season Totals (with Tri-City): 6 GP, 2-4-0, 3.32 GAA, .906 sv%, 0 SO
Season Totals (with Green Bay): 9 GP, 7-2-0, 2.27 GAA, .918 sv%, 2 SO

Wilcox played for the first time since December 9 and broke a four-game losing streak by beating Sioux City, 4-3. Wilcox had lost the No.1 job to Phoenix Copley, but Copley was shelled Wednesday night giving Wilcox an opening Friday.

QMJHL

Acadie-Bathurst Titan 3 @ Moncton Wildcats 2 (OT)

D Daniel Milan, MON: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM (holding), 0 SOG, 0 Hits
Season Totals: 32 GP, 0-4-4, -12, 29 PIM

Milan’s scoreless streak hit 14 games in the loss.

QMJHL Note: Lightning prospect Adam Janosik of Gatineau is with Team Slovakia at the U20 World Junior Championships in Alberta.

OHL

Sarnia Sting 3 @ London Knights 7

C Vladislav Namestnikov, LDN: Did not play (injured)
Season Totals: 33 GP, 17-23-40, +10, 28 PIM

After Namestnikov was a surprise cut by Team Russia at the World Junior tournament, rumors started swirling he was injured when trying to make the team though nothing had been announced. Friday was the second straight game for London that Namestnikov has missed due to a “lower body injury,” giving those rumors some credibility. Speaking of credibility, it’s a lot easier to handle Namestnikov – a first round pick of the Lightning in 2011 – not making the team due to an injury than not being good enough. On Friday, Lightning camper Seth Griffith had a hat trick for the Knights. He also added an assist. Griffith (pictured) now has 29 goals and 50 points in 35 games.

Owen Sound Attack 1 @ Kitchener Rangers 4

D Geoffrey Schemitsch, OS: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 25 GP, 0-8-8, +1, 16 PIM

Schemitsch couldn’t string together two straight games with an assist and Owen Sound couldn’t beat the Rangers at the Aud in Kitchener on Friday, losing 4-1. Schemitsch had an assist Wednesday in a 2-1 loss to Niagara.

U20 World Junior Chapionships: Day Five

Preliminary Round
Sweden 9 @ Slovakia 1
Adam Janosik, Slovakia, 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 3 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM

Undrafted Erik Thorell, who plays for Farjestads in the Elitserien, had 2 goals and 3 points to lead Sweden in a 9-1 thumping of Slovakia. Lightning prospect Adam Janosik had his worst day at the WJC's in nearly two years going -3 in the match. The blue liner has emerged as a pillar of strength for the Slovaks in recent junior tournaments, but the whole team struggled today. The Slovakians now will play Switzerland on Saturday in a match that will likely determine whether they go through to the Medal Round.

U20 World Junior Championships: Day Four

Preliminary Round
Denmark 2 @ Canada 10
Brett Connolly, Canada, 1-1-2, +3, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 3 GP, 3-1-4, +4, 4 PIM

Brett Connolly had a shorthanded goal and an even strength assist as the Canadians punished Denmark for showing up to the building 10-2. Connolly also took an undisciplined third period penalty for cross checking. Canada wraps up their Preliminary Round on Saturday against Team USA.

Latvia 0 @ Russia 14
Nikita Kucherov, Russia, 0-3-3, +5, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Tournament totals: 3 GP, 1-4-5, +7, 0 PIM

Nikita Nesterov, Russia, 1-2-3, +5, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 3 GP, 1-3-4, +8, 2 PIM

If the Canadians set the standard Thursday night for unrelenting butt whippings, the Russians quickly rewrote it in breaking former breakaway republic Latvia 14-0. Nikita Gusev, the longtime line mate of Lightning prospect Nikita Kucherov, had 2 goals and 7 points in the match and still wasn't the team's leading scorer. That distinction went to captain Yevgeni Kuznetsov's "Kuznetztrick" stat line of 3-6-9. For their parts, Lightning representatives Nikita Kucherov and Nikita Nesterov contributed a combined 1 goal and 6 points to the rout. Russia finishes their last prelim on Saturday versus Sweden.

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.

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