North American Juniors
Canada 5 @ Russia 6
Nikita Kucherov, Russia, 1-0-1, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 6 GP, 2-5-7, +5, 2 PIM
Nikita Nesterov, Russia, 1-0-1, -1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 6 GP, 2-3-5, +7, 6 PIM
Brett Connolly, Canada, 1-0-1, -1, 0 PIM, 6 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 5-1-6, +4, 4 PIM
In the mother of all Semifinals, Russia streaked out to a 6-1 lead early in the third period, and then held on by a fingernail in the face of 4 unanswered Canadian goals for the 6-5 victory. Nikita Kucherov's tap in goal as the trailer on a 3-on-1 ended up being the game winning goal in the match. Nikita Nesterov also contributed a power play goal for the Russians on a first period one timer from the point that was deflected in off a Canadian defender's stick. Lightning forward Brett Connolly scored the second Lightning prospect goal in the game as the extra attacker on a play where Nikita Nesterov was about to be sent off on a minor penalty. Connolly ripped a short side wrister for the goal that was Canada's only through 40 minutes. The most bizarre move of the match came when Russian coach Valeri Bragin's decided to lift Andrei Vasilevski after he stopped 44 of 49 shots for the Russians, but backup Andrei Makarov stopped 7 of 7 the rest of the way to secure the win, seemingly against all odds.
Connolly looked to be Canada's strongest player in the match. He had what was perhaps Canada's best chance to tie the game on a rebound off a shot that hit the post which he was unable to lift over Makarov's pads. Kucherov had some dangerous moments as a playmaker on what was Russia's de facto second line. He looked to be an extremely creative passer with superlative puckhandling skills that were among the best on display by both teams tonight. Nesterov, for his part, took a late second period penalty for interference that likely wasn't his and looked somewhat outclassed by the Canadians' speed and strength. Still, it's hard to complain about the Lightning prospect hat trick of goals.
Russia moves on to play Sweden in the Gold Medal match on Thursday. Sweden advanced to the Finals with a dramatic 3-2 shootout win over the rival Finns earlier in the night on the strength of a Max Friberg game tying goal with 1:44 left in regulation followed up by Friberg's winning shootout goal. Recall, Friberg scored the game tying goal with 40 seconds left in regulation against the Russians in the final game of the Preliminary Round to earn Sweden their bye in the Quarterfinals of the Medal Round. The Ducks fifth rounder is suddenly looking like a living legend for the Swedes.
Canada will play in the Bronze Medal match against the Finns on Thursday, as well.
Finland 8 @ Sloavkia 5
Adam Janosik, Slovakia, 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM
Wild first rounder Mikael Granlund had 1 goal and 4 points to help lead Finland to an 8-5 win over Slovakia. His brother Markus, a Flames second rounder, chipped in 2 goals and 3 points, as well. Lightning prospect Adam Janosik was an admirable +2 despite his team giving up a snowman in the contest. He also had a secondary assist on a power play goal by Red Wings fourth rounder Marek Tvrdon with 30 seconds left in the first period. Slovakia will finish their tournament in the 5th/6th Place Game on Wednesday against (spoiler alert) Czech Republic.
Russia 2 @ Czech Republic 1 (OT)
Nikita Kucherov, Russia, 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 1-5-6, +7, 2 PIM
Nikita Nesterov, Russia, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 1-3-4, +8, 4 PIM
Lightning prospect Nikita Kucherov assisted on defenseman Grigori Zheldakov's overtime goal to lift Russia to a 2-1 Quarterfinals victory over Czech Republic. Kucherov was on the ice after leaving the box following Russia's kill of a high sticking minor. The game featured an epic goaltending battle between Wings fifth rounder Petr Mrazek, who stopped 43 of 45 in defeat, and draft eligible 17 year old goaltender Andrei Vasilevski, who stopped 38 of 39 he faced. Russia moves on to the Semifinals to face Canada in what should be an epic battle between two of the world's great hockey powers on Tuesday.
Sweden will face Finland in a battle of Scandinavian rivals to determine which of the two will move on to the Finals to face the winner of Canada vs. Russia.
If Lightning prospect Daniel Milan is going to turn his season around, itâ€™s not going to be in a Moncton uniform.
The Lightningâ€™s post-training camp free agent signee was traded by Moncton today to Victoriaville for two players, Danick Emond and Jacob Sweeney. The trade was listed on the QMJHL's official website.
Victoriaville is rumored to be after Monctonâ€™s biggest prize, defenseman Brandon Gormley who is currently with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships.
A native of Michigan, Milan made the QMJHL all-rookie team last year after he scored 14 goals and 38 points in 68 games. This season he has just five assists in 33 games. He recently broke a personal 14-game scoreless streak.
Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman said after he signed Milan that he was signed for his defensive abilities and anything on offense is a bonus, though they probably didnâ€™t envision Milan to slump this bad statistically.
Milan joins a Tigres team who is 11 points above Moncton in the league standings. With Shawinigan hosting the Memorial Cup this year, two QMJHL teams will get in the tournament, and Victoriaville is pushing for that honor.
London Knights 3 @ Sarnia Sting 0
C Vladislav Namestnikov, LDN: Did not play (injured)
Season Totals: 33 GP, 17-23-40, +10, 28 PIM
Namestnikov missed his third straight game due to a lower body injury. 2012 draft eligible goalie Michael Houser was First Star for the Knights, stopping all 36 shots he faced. London was outshot 36-19 in the game.
Owen Sound Attack 3 @ Oshawa Generals 4
D Geoffrey Schemitsch, OS: 0-2-2, +1, 2 PIM (interference)
Season Totals: 26 GP, 0-10-10, +2, 18 PIM
Schemitsch (pictured) had his first multi-point regular season game since October 30 of 2010, but the Attack couldnâ€™t top the Gens in Oshawa. He had two assists in a playoff game last year. Oshawaâ€™s Christian Thomas, son of Lightning staffer and former NHLer Steve Thomas, had a goal and an assist for First Star honors.
Omaha Lancers 0 @ Tri-City Storm 3
G Adam Wilcox, TC: Win, 34 saves on 34 shots, *First Star*
Season Totals (with Tri-City): 7 GP, 3-4-0, 2.85 GAA, .919 sv%, 1 SO
Season Totals (with Green Bay): 9 GP, 7-2-0, 2.27 GAA, .918 sv%, 2 SO
Wilcox (pictured) won his second straight game after a four-game losing streak, shutting out Omaha 3-0 at home. This was his first shutout with Tri-City. He had two with Green Bay before being traded. Wilcox is playing like Tri-City expected when they acquired the Lightningâ€™s 2011 sixth round pick and future Minnesota Golden Gopher.
St. John Sea Dogs 2 @ Moncton Wildcats 5
D Daniel Milan, MON: 0-1-1, -1, 2 PIM (tripping), 0 SOG, 2 Hits
Season Totals: 33 GP, 0-5-5, -13, 31 PIM
Milan broke a personal 14 game scoreless streak with a secondary assist Saturday night. scoreless streak hit 14 games in the loss. St. John is two points behind Patrick Royâ€™s Quebec Remparts for the leagueâ€™s top point total. At 18-19-3-0 Moncton pulled back within one game of .500. They won just their second game in their past 10 contests.