Czechia Tops Great Britain in Opener
Czechia started the World Championship in a dominant effort, beating Great Britain 5-1 to kick off the team’s tournament in Finland.
Matej Blumel was the star of the show, recording two goals and an assist for the best game of his men’s national team career. He scored the opening goal at 27:09 after some good goaltending from Ben Bowns at the other end, with Jakub Flek scoring at 32:23 to make it 2-0 in the second period.
David Jiricek, a top defender for the 2022 NHL draft, scored his first World Championship goal at 41:11 to open the third-period scoring. He wired a hard one-timer off of a Roman Cervenka feed and beat Bowns up high to officially put the game out of reach.
Jiri Cernoch and Blumel added further goals to make it 5-1, but GB got a goal from Ben Lake to make it 5-1 in a game that was one-sided in the final 40 minutes of play.
Switzerland Snags Win From Italy
A three-point night for defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler helped set the stage for a big first game as Switzerland beat Italy 5-2.
It didn’t take long for the heavily favored Swiss outfit to strike first. Denis Malgin was set up the ice off of a Dario Simion pass and made no mistake beating Andreas Bernard for the 1-0 lead.
The lead would stand until 17:05 when Calvin Thurkauf tipped in a shot from Enzo Corvi, only to have Siegenthaler’s set up Andres Ambuhl for the 3-0 goal with 18 seconds remaining in the period.
Switzerland would have relatively little trouble throughout the rest of the game. Thurkauf scored his second of the contest at 26:20 for the lone goal of the middle stanza before Nico Hischier scored Switzerland’s fifth of the night.
In between them, though, were goals from Italy’s Daniel Glira and Dante Hannoun to give Italy something to get excited about late in the game.
Denmark Blasts Kazakhstan for Nine Goals
It definitely ended up a bit different than one might have expected, but Denmark was easily able to cruise to a 9-1 win over Kazakhstan to open their tournament.
Three goals in the first 4:51 of play really set the tone for the match. Patrick Bjorkstrand, Felix Scheel and Joachim Blichfeld all scored early to seemingly put the game out of reach before the ice was even carved up.
In the second, Frederik Storm, Julian Jakobsen, Oliver Larsen and Blichfeld all added goals to make it 7-0.
Blichfeld completed the hat-trick, and Peter Regin scored his first of the tournament to make it 9-0, while Kirill Savitski scored Kazakhstan’s lone goal with a minute and a half remaining to give his team something to smile about.
Sweden Beats Austrian Newcomers
Sweden’s hope of making the quarterfinal after a disappointing 2021 tournament started off on a good foot after beating Austria 3-1 on Saturday.
It wasn’t an easy game for the Swedes, who only had a one-goal advantage heading into the first period. Joel Kellman scored at 2:08, making it look like Sweden would have full control. Max Friberg scored off of a Kellman feed at 16:37 to double the advantage, but Peter Schneider answered back three minutes later to give Austria its first of the tournament.
The game remained close, with Joakim Nordstrom scoring at 32:07 to regain Sweden’s two-goal advantage. The goaltending was solid at both ends, with Bernhard Starkbaum turning away 26 shots, while Marcus Hogberg stopped 19 of the 20 sent his way.
Sweden iced a light roster tonight, dressing just nine forwards and six defensemen, with many roster spots still left to be filled.
Finland Wins Thanks to Late Goal
A power-play goal from Mikael Granlund with just under three minutes to go made the difference as Finland beat Latvia 2-1 to stay perfect in Tampere.
Latvia held the lead for much of the game, with Rudolfs Balcers scoring at 8:30 after some good pressure and puck movement from the Latvian side.
Sakari Manninen scored for Finland at 30:52 on the man advantage, something that proved to be important for the Finns.
At 57:08, Mikael Granlund sent the hometown crowd cheering with glee when he used his patience to use his wrist shot to beat Elvis Merlzikins for the 2-1 goal. Latvia pulled Merzlikins for an extra attacker, but the damage had already been done and Finland was able to capitalize.
Germany Edges Slovakia 2-1
In a game that could decide a quarterfinal berth, Germany won the battle of the recent Olympic silver medalists with a 2-1 win over Slovakia.
All of the scoring ended up taking place in a 10-minute span. Patrik Rybar was good for Slovakia, while Philipp Grubauer looked confident in the German net in back-to-back efforts for both goalies.
Germany got themselves out to a two-goal lead before the halfway point of the first. Matthias Plachta beat Rybar at 21:34, with Leonhard Pfoderl continuing to build on the pressure to make it 2-0 at 26:41. Kristian Pospisil scored at 31:15 to get Slovakia on the board.
The team seemed to rally around the momentum, limiting Germany to just three shots in the third period. Unfortunately for them, Grubauer shut the door the rest of the way to bounce back from a loss to Canada on Day 1, putting them in the win column for the first time.
News & Notes:
– With his appearance on Saturday, Switzerland’s Andres Ambuhl has set a record for the most World Championships participated in with 17. Ambuhl made his men’s national team debut during the 2003-04 season, making his World Championship debut later that season. He was part of Switzerland’s 2013 World Championship team and is a multi-time National League champ back home.
1. Jonas Siegenthaler, D (SUI): A three-point first period was big in giving Switzerland a rather stress-free afternoon.
2. Matej Blumel, F (CZE): Two goals and an assist helped mark Blumel’s best game with the Czech men’s national team.
3. Mikael Granlund, F (FIN): Is it cheating to put the guy who scored the game-winner on her? Perhaps, but he could have had a few more if it wasn’t for Merzlikins.