Saturday, 18 April 2009

WDIHC - Thursday Night Rematch

Unlike Thursday night's affair between the Russians and Americans, the rematch today has more on the line than just home-ice advantage. The Russians and Americans square off for the first bronze medal ever awarded at the World Deaf Hockey Championships, so there is a some very distinct history being made in Winnipeg today. The action shifts to the MTS Centre, home of the Manitoba Moose. If you have been reading about the World Deaf Hockey Championships, I want to thank you on behalf of both myself and the organizers of this event for your continued interest in the games themselves. The athletes, from what I can tell, have enjoyed the games, and the entire deaf community is, in a word, a family. They have really put on an excellent event, and today's medal games is the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication by both the organizers and players. Hockey Blog In Canada is proud to have been a part of the inuagural World Deaf Ice Hockey Championships, and look forward all other events in the community!

As you may have seen Thursday, Team USA defeated the Russian squad by an 11-1 score. The Americans used their forecheck and puck movement skills to outscore their opponents. However, Russia's passive play changed with about six minutes to play, and they really turned the heat on the Americans. About 75 people are on-hand for this game, but the pro-American crowd appears very enthusiastic. Team USA is in white after finishing the round-robin at 2-2, and the Russians will be the visitors after they finished 1-3.

We're moments from the first whistle, so let's get to the action!

  • Russia already looks like a different team. They are skating harder and using their individual skill to control the puck for shots. After a minute and a half, this game doesn't come close to resembling the effort on Thursday.
  • With 17:53 remaining, we have our first penalty called. #5 Vyacheslav Kazantsev of Russia is sent off for tripping.
  • The Americans show excellent puck movement and control on the powerplay as they pin the Russian penalty killing unit in their zone for 1:20.
  • The Russians need to end the stickwork. #17 Aleksey Baburkin is sent off for a trip as well, giving the Americans 20 seconds of five-on-three hockey. The Russians need to move their feet rather than using their lumber to slow the American players.
  • With 14:15 to play in the first, goaltender #30 Anatoliy Potapov really looks sharp. He has made a number of saves with traffic in front of the net, and one outstanding glove save already.
  • #9 Roman Chernov rings one off the post behind American goaltender David Rancourt with 13:50 to play. The Russians definitely have more aggression in their game today.
  • A thunderous hit behind the Russian net by American #10 Casey Riffle calls for a stoppage in play with 12:24 remaining as the Russian defender is down on the ice. It appears that #17 Aleksey Baburkin is ok as he gets up slowly.
  • With 9:06 remaining, the Americans will go back to the powerplay as #18 Viktor Deriglazov is sent off for hooking. The Americans are using their speed effectively to force the Russians to take lazy penalties.
  • On the powerplay, the Americans strike! With 7:50 remaining, #19 Andy Howard strips a Russian of the puck along the halfboards, and stickhandles his way from the left faceoff circle to the right faceoff circle, causing Potapov to go down early. From the right hash marks and using a Russian defender as a screen, Howard roofs the puck for the game's opening goal. USA leads 1-0.
  • #18 Viktor Deriglazov is making himself a home in the penalty box. With 5:27 to play, he is sent off for tripping.
  • And with Deriglazov off, the Americans notch their second powerplay marker with 5:18 left! The Russian team, in particular goaltender Anatoliy Potapov, are unhappy with the goal. There is a conference at their bench with the referee and linesman, but to no avail. #12 Jon Weintraub gets credit for the goal. USA leads 2-0.
  • With 1:43 remaining, #18 David Reid scores a gorgeous goal. Skating in on the left hash marks, Reid fires a rising wrist shot through a Russian defender's legs and over the glove of Potapov. USA leads 3-0.
At the end of the first period, USA has a commanding 3-0 lead. It very well could be a six- or seven-goal lead had it not been for some brilliant goaltending by Anatoliy Potapov. To me, it seems the Russians are playing hard for short periods of time, but they get lazy in their own zone which results in penalties. Both of Deriglazov's penalties were the result of him not skating with the American player. The Russians need to match the American team's footwork, or this could be another American blowout like we saw on Thursday.

On to the second period!
  • Potapov makes a terrible mistake at the 16:49 mark of the second. On a dump-in directly on net by #10 Casey Riffle, Potapov kicks out a huge rebound. The streaking #15 Miles Gates cuts in hard off the left wing and puts the rebound in the net. USA leads 4-0.
  • With 14:03 to play, the Russian powerplay gets little going. They don't dump-and-chase, and they aren't strong enough on the puck to carry it through the American defenders. Russia needs to change their gameplan if they have any hope of a comeback in this game.
  • #9 Peter Gentoli is sent sprawling in front of the Russian net while shorthanded. That kills the Russian powerplay with 12:08 to play in the second as #15 Sergey Kargin is sent off for interference.
  • In what has to be the dumbest play yet by the Russians, #5 Vyacheslav Kazantsev is sent off for slashing with eight minutes to play. When your team has the puck and is clearing the zone, taking a selfish, stupid penalty in front of your own net should get you a permanent seat on the bench.
  • Potapov stops #9 Peter Gentoli on a breakaway with his right shoulder. As I stated above, this game would be over if it weren't for Potapov's efforts. He has been outstanding in the Russian net.
  • With 6:07 remaining, Russia has been assessed a four-minute double-minor penalty for spearing and a ten-minute misconduct. Again, another stupid penalty by #17 Aleksey Baburkin. Selfish and unnecessary.
  • The first minor penalty is over quickly when the Americans score with 5:39 remaining. #18 David Reid taps in a rebound from the left side of the crease to add to the American lead. USA leads 5-0.
  • And the second minor penalty is done 59 seconds later. With 4:40 remaining, the Americans strike again. This time, #11 Brian Van Vlyman rips a blocker-side wrist shot past Potapov with Casey Riffle providing the screen. That's the fourth American goal with the man advantage. USA leads 6-0.
The story of this game, quite frankly, is discipline. Anatoliy Potapov has done everything humanly possible to keep the Russians in the running for the bronze medal, but four powerplay goals by the Americans have put this game out of reach. David Rancourt hasn't seen much action in the American net - another sign of the passive gameplan that the Russians are using. Combine that with the aggressive American attack, and the only thing left to decide is the final score. The US is outshooting the Russians by a 44-12 margin.
  • 30 seconds into the third period, and #12 Jon Weintraub is crushed into the boards by a Russian. He comes up clutching his arm and elbow, and heads straight to the bench. That didn't look good. Hopefully, he's ok.
  • #22 Jon Dickson rips a shot past Potapov to add to the American lead. The rout is on as the Americans don't seem to be letting up. USA leads 7-0.
  • #4 Evgeniy Zabelin appears to take a hit from behind in the left corner of his own zone with 17:45 remaining. After the trainers help him off the ice, he beelines for the US bench and takes a swing at an American player. The linemen and referee jump in to restore order, but Zabelin's tantrum continues as he is sent to the penalty box for ten minutes to think about his actions. #22 Jon Dickson was assessed a ten-minute for the check from behind.
  • The Americans tack on another goal at 17:32. #9 Peter Gentoli fires home a shorthanded goal. USA leads 8-0.
  • After the goal, the Russians pull Popatov and #1 Iskander Latypov takes over in net.
  • At the 14:10 mark, David Rancourt can take a well-deserved seat on the bench as Joe Lingle skates into the crease.
  • With 14:06 to go, the Americans notch another goal. #15 Miles Gates builds a bigger lead for the US squad. USA leads 9-0.
  • The game is now getting dirty. #21 Konstantin Bobov is whisted for roughing with 12:08 remaining as he hits an American player, and then drives him into the ice.
  • With 8:40 to go, #15 Sergey Kargin is sent in all alone on Lingle. And rings it off the post on the blocker side.
  • With 6:12 remaining, an American goal is waved off after Latypov has some new creasemates. The Americans stage a slight argument, but don't press the issue aside from asking for an explanation.
  • With 4:51 to play, the Americans hit double-digits. #8 Mike Wonoski picks up the tenth goal for the US squad. USA leads 10-0.
  • With 3:58 remaining, #17 Aleksey Baburkin throws a vicious crosscheck to the head of American #18 David Reid. Reid responds with a two-hand slash to the shin pads, and the Russian goes after the smaller American. After being grabbed by the linesman, Baburkin is given a ten-minute misconduct and four minutes for crosschecking and roughing. Reid is assessed two for slashing.
  • When it rains, it pours. After winning the faceoff, Russian defender #5 Vyacheslav Kazantsev turns to clear the puck without looking and fires it past Latypov. #9 Peter Gentoli is credited with the goal at 3:09 of the third. USA leads 11-0.
  • With 1:17 left, the Russians are completely out of this game mentally. #17 Robert Ruef is sent in on the breakaway, and Russian forward #10 Oleg Danilenko hooks him to the ice. #7 looks like he'd be more at home in the NHL All-Star Game Shootout Competition as a he jukes and jives, performing more starts and stops than a figure skater. Needless to say, the penalty shot was waved off.
At the final buzzer, the American team has defeated the Russians by an 11-0 score, giving them the bronze medals in the process. The Americans legitimately got better as the tournament progressed, adopting more hard work as the answer to their goal-scoring problems from the first couple of games. With that new ideal, the Americans handily beat the Russians twice and the Slovaks.

Player Of The Game - Russia: #10 Oleg Danilekno.
Player Of The Game - USA: #19 Andy Howard.

In the spirit of sportsmanship, both teams shook hands and really seemed to congratulate one another. Pictures were taken on the ice by both teams, and the two teams came together for one large group photo. This is one of the best things about international hockey - despite the battles on the ice, everyone is friends off of it.

Team USA is your bronze medallists at the World Deaf Ice Hockey Championships! In an hour and a half, I'll be back for the gold medal game featuring Finland and Canada.

Until then, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

USA Hockey Mom said...

Great job reporting this wonderful event! I keep checking the WDIHC website but it has never been updated after the first two USA games! USA's #7 was Chris Fenn, he took the penalty shot for #17 Robert (Bo) Ruef
If you took pictures, we would love to see them posted!