U-17 Championship Day 2 Recap
USA vs Russia – 2pm
Nikita Serebryakov played incredible as he backstopped Russia to a 3-2 win over USA in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. The Russian goaltender stopped 51 of 53 shots in an eventful game at the WFCU Center Friday afternoon.
Russia got off to a quick start as Sergei Tolchinski received a nice pass from Nikita Zadorov and put the puck past Hunter Miska. Russia continued to be faster and play harder than the American squad, but in playing more physical they got caught up in it and took three straight penalties. Team USA looked sloppy, especially after coming off of a 5-1 win against the Czech Republic yesterday. Their power play was not producing anything as they went 0/3 in the first period. The Americans then took a penalty to give Russia their first power play. Though shorthanded, American forward, J.T. Compher was able to read a Russian pass and intercept it. Compher had a clear breakaway but was robbed by Serebryakov. Though Russia held a 1-0 lead after the first period, USA was dominating in the shots department by putting up 24, while the Russian Squad was only able to muster up 6.
The second period was nothing compared to the first. USA continued to play sloppy and Russia did not have the same intensity as they did in the first period. Roughly 4 minutes into the period though, Russia flipped the puck into the USA zone. The puck took a weird bounce and Hunter Miska played the puck wrong for the Americans, this led Ivan Fishchenko to tap the puck home for a 2-0 Russian lead. This goal did something to both teams, as a plethora of penalties took place. The US got two more power play chances but was unsuccessful, while Russia also had two chances but couldn’t put one past Miska and went 0/3. USA was able to put up 11 more shots (2 period total: 35), while Russia was able to put up 8 for a 2 period total of 14.
During the second intermission, USA’s coach, Don Granato, said something to wake his team up. When asking Evan Allen what coach Granato said, this is what Allen heard,
“He said to keep things going, get the puck deep, and work hard and we will get this done.”
Those few words had a huge impact on USA in the third period. Less than two minutes into the third period, Allen was able to give the Americans some life by finally getting a shot by Serebryakov. The US squad played more confidently; making the right pass, going to the net, getting the puck deep, and continuing to put shots on net. With all of the US momentum building, it seemed like only a matter of time before Russia would have a mental error. Russia’s Vladislav Lysenko was the one who gave in to the mental breakdown and received a penalty for kneeing. The US power play looked really good this time. They were passing it to the open man, and were able to generate good scoring opportunities, but like he did all game, Nikita Serebryakov stood on his head. Seconds after his penalty, Lysenko got the puck and fed Grigori Dikushin for another Russian goal for a 3-1 lead. The US didn’t let that goal be the “dagger to the heart” though, because minutes later, Hudson Fasching was able to slip a goal by Serebryakov with just over 10 minutes to play. Team USA used that goal as momentum and kept piling on tons of pressure. They were generating tons of opportunities but nothing would get by the monster Russian goaltender. In the final two minutes of the game, Russia’s Nikita Zadorov took a tripping penalty, which was a big boost to the Americans. The American’s called a time-out on this power play to set up their offence, but then got an even bigger boost from the crowd. The whole arena was chanting “USA! USA!” This seemed to work as the US won the faceoff and started their cycle. At the final minute, coach Granato decided to pull his goaltender to give his team a 6-on-4 advantage, which seemed to be perfect. The US was robbed with 3.2 seconds left in the game, but Serebryakov held the puck. On the next faceoff, the US won it and the puck just hopped over a J.T. Compher, who had an open net, stick. Russia won the game 3-2. USA put up 18 shots in the third for a game total of 53, while Russia put up 8 shots for a game total of 22.
Players of the game were: Hudson Fasching for USA, and Nikita Serebryakov for Russia.
After the game, we caught up with USA’s J.T. Compher and asked him a few questions. When asked about the shot differential (53-22 for USA), Compher said this,
“Well obviously their goalie played pretty well but I thought we outplayed most of the game and we were all over them in their zone, really relentless, but just didn’t get some of the bounces that we wanted or rebounds from that. “
Similar to the Evan Allen question about the third period, this is what Compher said,
“We knew that this was a really important game for our tournament, to move on we have to win three games. We played this team in Russia earlier this year and beat them. We knew we were capable but I am really proud of our team, we worked real hard.”
Though he was disappointed from the loss, Compher was still in good spirits and said that the team will use their off day tomorrow to rest up, refocus and prepare for their next game against Canada West.
USA’s next game is Sunday, January 1st at 7pm versus West, while Russia plays Saturday, December 31st at 2pm versus Pacific.
Quebec vs Germany – 7pm
After getting shutout 5-0 yesterday to Ontario, Germany came out strong in the first period. They played a physical game, but the physicality would come at a cost. This cost would be 3 consecutive penalties (the 2nd and 3rd resulting in a 5-on-3 for Quebec). On the 5-on-3, Yan-Pavel LaPlante would score on German goaltender Hannibal Wietzmann, with Jonathan Drouin and Nikolas Brouillard picking up the assists. Germany looked to respond but Dominik Kahun was robbed by Zachary Fucale. With 25 seconds left in the period, Quebec took their first penalty with Tommy Veilleux picking up a holding call. This gave Germany a power play for the end of the period. Shots after the first were 16-7 in favour of Quebec.
Germany began the second period with the man advantage and tried taking advantage of it. Forward Leon Draisaitl had an open net and got the shot off, but Fucale came up huge and robbed him. Later on, Germany had a long 5-on-3 power play but could not generate a descent scoring chance, resulting in them going 0/4 on the power play. Quebec was able to pick up the pace and started to get more physical at the half way mark. With this came some momentum and Quebec broke out on a 3-on-1, but could not capitalize. Minutes later, Jonathan Drouin got the puck to Guillaume, who saw a wide open Anthony DeLuca. DeLuca was able to take his time (probably go to Tim Hortons and back), and get a nice snapper to beat Wietzmann to make it 2-0 Quebec. Sitting with a 2 goal lead, Quebec started to relax, and that’s when sloppiness kicked in. Both Tommy Veilleux and Johnathan Drouin took penalties seconds from each other to give Germany another 5-on-3. Yet again, the goaltending of Zachary Fucale and the Quebec PK did an amazing job in killing any chances for the Germans. After 2 periods of play, Quebec led 2-0. Shots for the period were 15-6 for Germany, while both team had a total of 22.
When both teams came out to start the 3rd period, there was a feeling that it was going to be very intense and that Germany would make this an interesting game. Germany took a penalty for holding, but while shorthanded, able to get a pass up to Fabio Pfohl. Pfohl had a clear breakaway but once again, the hot hand of Fucale denied the Germans of a goal. Minutes later, Quebec comes on the attack but Wietzmann makes a huge stretching save to deny Quebec of another goal. That would be the last of the positives for Germany though, as both Denis Shevyrin and Marco Sedlar had opportunities to score but couldn’t finish. Quebec would put another goal up by Charles Guevremont, with Laurent Dauphin picking up the only assist. When all was said and done, the German team was shut out 3-0 by a faster Quebec team. Shots in the 3rd were 12-11 in favour of the Germans, while total game shots were 34-33 for Germany.
The players of the game were Hannibal Wietzmann for Germany and Zachary Fucale for Quebec.
After the game, I caught up with Quebec goaltender, Zachary Fucale and asked him about his team’s performance. This is what he said,
“Well, I thought the boys played well out there. We played a solid 60 minutes – defensively, offensively, everywhere. I think we have to give a lot of credit to the boys out there for sacrificing the body, blocking shots, checking back really hard and I think it is a big team effort tonight. It is great to get the win against the Germans.”
When asking him about his thoughts and the communication he had with his team when down 5-on-3, Fucale praised his team by saying
“I mean 5-on-3 is a hard situation to be in, we got ourselves in that a little too many times today (laughs), but I think we played it well all together. We were all on the same page, all going in the same directions, and that’s what made the difference for us. With the guys blocking shots, and like I said before, a good team effort, especially on the 5-on-3.”
With little rest and Quebec playing Sweden tomorrow, I wanted to get what Fucale’s thoughts on how to prepare for them.
“This is a short event, so we just have to build on this, we have to take momentum when we can, and I think tonight was great for us as a team, a good win, great team effort so we can get some momentum tonight and take it into tomorrow’s game and try and get a better performance from everyone out there.
Aside from Fucale’s stellar play, Jonathan Drouin had a great game by picking up 2 assists. This is what he had to say about tonight’s game,
“Our performance was good, great goal with the tip-in by LaPlante, good work on the 5-on-3 (PK), and the team performance was good. Everything was going together, we were able to get the puck deep and everything, so yeah, everything was good.”
With Drouin being a teammate of Fucale back in the QMJHL (with Halifax), I wanted to get his thoughts on his goaltender’s performance,
“It s amazing! He was stopping everything on top of his crease. No rebounds, everything was just perfect!”
There has been a lot of talk about Germany’s Leon Draisaitl coming into this tournament, so I wanted to know how Quebec was able to shut not just Germany as a team, but Draisaitl’s personal performance.
“Yeah, we were told about him! It was pretty much just stay on him the whole game, make sure he doesn’t have free space in the slot. The team did a really good at keeping the space tight in the slot and everything.”
With representing your team, it is an honour to wear an alternate captain’s A. When asked about his thoughts on being selected to wear the letter, Drouin had this to say,
“It’s fun. You know we are all assistant captains on the team. We are a 22 man unit, it’s not just me, it is pretty much the whole team. But it really means everything to wear it.”
The final question was similar to the question asked to Zachary Fucale on how to prepare for the Sweden game tomorrow. Drouin’s response,
“We prepare the same way we prepared for the last two games. We work hard and put the puck in deep and create plays down low.”
Team Quebec is back at it on New Year’s Eve with a 2pm game against Sweden, while Germany takes on Team Atlantic at 7pm.
ONT 7 - SWE 2
PAC 4 - CZE 0
**Make sure to follow Brian Raiger and Kyle Busch on Twitter: @raiger89 & @KyleBusch11 for the latest news in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Also, head to www.thecheckingline.com for the latest articles on the U-17’s. **