The 2014 IIHF World Championships began Friday, and so far, the United States is undefeated in round-robin tournament. Canada has split their first two games, losing the first before winning the second. A quartet of Buffalo Sabres players are representing their countries in the World Championships this year.
TEAM USA WINS PAIR OF GAMES
The US roster for the World Championships includes Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe and a host of other NHLers. The team put up a pair of wins this past weekend against Belarus and Switzerland to stay undefeated in tournament play.
Team USA opened their tournament on May 9 with a game against home-country Belarus. McCabe had one shot and was held off the scoresheet, but racked up 14:07 in ice time as the United States won 6-1.
Goals for the US came from Brock Nelson, Johnny Gaudreau, Jake Gardiner, Colin McDonald and Jacob Trouba (2). Gaudreau led the United States with a goal and two assists. Tim Thomas had 20 saves. Belarus’ lone goal came from Andrei Stepanov, with assists to Mikhail Grabovski and Alexei Kalyuzhny. Andrei Mezin had 19 saves.
Saturday, Team USA faced Switzerland in more World Championships tournament play. Once again, McCabe had one shot and was otherwise kept off the scoresheet as the US eventually won, 3-2. McCabe saw 13:34 of ice time in Saturday’s win. Tyler Johnson, Peter Meuller and Craig Smith scored for the US, while Thomas had 27 saves. Swiss goals came from Damien Brunner and Denis Hollenstein, while Reto Berra stopped 35 of 38 shots faced.
TEAM CANADA LOOKS TO BUILD OFF WIN
Team Canada, meanwhile, has a pair of Buffalo Sabres players: Cody Hodgson and Tyler Myers, participating in the World Championships. Canada opened their tournament on Friday with a loss to France. Myers had one shot and two penalty minutes in 18:58 ice time in Friday’s game. Hodgson had an assist and won 53 percent of his faceoffs; he also had two shots.
Brayden Schenn and Erik Gubranson scored for Canada, but a pair of goal sby Stephane da Costa and a goal by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare led France to a 3-2 victory. James Reimer had 26 saves for Canada, while Cristobal Huet stopped 34 of 36 shots faced.
Following the loss, Canada came back to pull out a 4-1 win over Slovakia the next day.
Hodgson had a goal, while Myers notched an assist in the win. Other Canada goals came from captain Kevin Bieksa and Joel Ward (2), while Ben Scrivens had 23 saves. Slovakia’s lone goal came from Karol Sloboda, with goaltender Jan Laco stopping 24 of 28 shots faced.
The United States team will face Russia at 1:45 p.m. EST today. Team Canada also plays next at 1:45 p.m. EST today, facing off against the Czech Republic. The IIHF World Championships continue through May 26.
LATVIA TO LOOK FOR SECOND WIN OF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS TUESDAY
There’s another Sabres player representing his country in the World Championships in Belarus: Zemgus Girgensons, playing on Team Latvia.
Latvia defeated Finland in its first game of the tournament, a 3-2 in on May 10. Girgensons won 8 of 15 faceoffs in the first game and had two shots on goal in 18:49 ice time, but failed to register a point.
Latvia then fell to Germany the next day, 3-2. Once again, Girgensons didn’t register a point, but he won 10 of 17 faceoffs and had 16:40 ice time.
Next up for the Latvians is a game against Kazakhstan on Tuesday.