Now over a week into the IIHF World Championships, many Buffalo Sabres players have been representing their countries at the tournament over in Minsk, Belarus. Play continued this past weekend, with the United States, Canada, and Latvia all in action. In addition, one Sabres prospect has dressed for action with Sweden at the World Championships.
As it stands right now, Russia is the top team, winning all six of their games so far in regulation. Canada and Sweden have each won four games in regulation, winning one additional game in overtime and losing one in overtime.
USA HOPES FOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS MEDAL AGAIN
Team USA is second in Group B, with 11 points so far in this year’s World Championships. They’ve won four of six games, including three regulation wins. This weekend, they put up wins over Kazakhstan and Finland.
The weekend began on Friday with the United States facing Kazakhstan, a team composed largely of members of Barys Astana.
Kazakhstan opened the scoring with a power-play goal by Roman Starchenko to make it 1-0. The US would rally back to tie it later in the first period on a power-play goal by Craig Smith. Brock Nelson and Seth Jones notched assists on Smith’s third goal of the tournament.
Kazakhstan’s Konstantin Romanov would make it 2-1 early in the second, but the US would score twice in the middle frame to tie it and gain its first lead of the night. Seth Jones and Matt Donovan scored, with Smith and Johnny Gaudreau notching assists.
Finally, Starchenko would score in the third period to tie the game at three, and the teams would be forced to overtime. Seth Jones scored his second of the game to grab the win for the US, with Gaudreau and Danny Dekeyser assisting on the game-winner.
Tim Thomas had 22 saves, while Alexei Ivanov had 36 saves for Kazakhstan. Jones was named Best Player for the US, while Starchenko got those honors for Kazakhstan.
Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe was held pointless in the win. He played 11:28 in the US victory on Friday.
The United States then faced Finland on Sunday.
Brock Nelson and Tyler Johnson gave the United States a 2-0 lead, but Finland’s Mantyla would make it 2-1 in the third period. Johnson would add his second goal of the game – an empty-netter – to seal the win for the United States.
Once again, Tim Thomas had 22 saves in the win. Pekka Rinne had 21 saves for Finland.
Jake McCabe had one shot on goal and played just 3 and a half minutes in Sunday’s 3-1 victory.
Next up for the United States is a game against Germany on Tuesday.
CANADA REMAINS A POWERHOUSE
Team Canada has lost just one game in this year’s World Championships, pulling out a pair of wins this past weekend. They defeated Italy on Friday before beating Sweden on Sunday in World Championships play.
Cody Hodgson had a two-goal performance on Friday against Italy. He also won 60 percent of his faceoffs, had five shots on goal and finished the game a plus-1 as Canada beat Italy, 6-1.
James Reimer had 21 saves in the win, while Italy split their goaltending duties. Daniel Bellissimo had 17 saves, allowing five goals on 22 shots. Andreas Bernard stopped 11 of 12 shots faced.
Team Canada followed up the defeat of Italy with a win over Sweden in World Championships play on Sunday. It was a much closer-matched game, with Canada pulling off an eventual 3-2 win in overtime thanks to the game-winning goal by Ryan Ellis.
Hodgson had one assist and seven shots in 16:44 in the win. Canada’s goals came from Kevin Bieksa, Brayden Schenn and Ellis, and Ben Scrivens had 30 saves. Joakin Lindstrom and Linus Klasen scored for Sweden, while Anders Nilsson stopped 28 of 31 shots faced.
Canada will face Norway on May 20 in their next game of the World Championships.
LATVIA FALLS TO RUSSIA, 4-1
Latvia played just one game this weekend, facing Russia on Saturday.
Latvia opened the scoring 7:30 in with a goal by Indrasis, but that was all for them. Russia would dominate with three goals in the first period and add one more in the second for an eventual 4-1 win.
Russian goals came from Viktor Tikhonov (2), Sergei Shirokov and Sergei Kalinin. Kristers Gudlevskis had 39 saves for Latvia, but it simply wasn’t enough. Sergei Bobrovsky had 14 saves for Russia in the win.
Zemgus Girgensons was served a five-minutes spearing penalty and a game misconduct at the 8:51 mark of the second period. He finished the game winning 44 percent of his faceoffs and a plus-1 in 8:24.
Next up for Latvia is a game against Belarus on May 19.
HOW SWEDE IT (SOMETIMES) IS…
Team Sweden is the second-place team in Group A, tied with Team Canada in points and wins. Buffalo Sabres prospect goaltender Linus Ullmark is the third goaltender in the rotation for Sweden. He has yet to play in the World Championships this year, but backed up Anders Nilsson on Thursday against France.
He also backed up Nilsson on Friday when Sweden faced Slovakia.
Sweden continues its World Championships play with a game against Italy on May 19.