WHL at the World Junior Championships day eight

Czech Republic 4 Finland 3 (SO)

Red Deer Rebels forward Kristian Reichel has produced more as the the U-20 World Junior Championships has gone on over the last week. He scored twice in their last preliminary game and added another marker on Tuesday. Reichel then got the Czech Republic started off right in the shoot out with another goal. They would go on to beat Finland 2-1 in the shoot out.

Reichel skated 18:34 and had two shots in the quarter-final win. The loss eliminates the Finns, who had 55 shots on net.

Saskatoon Blades defenseman Libor Hajek had another assist for the Czech Republic. He leads all blue liners in points with seven points in five games. Hajek skated a game-high 30:46, was a plus-one and had three shots.

Prince Albert Raiders d-man Vojtech Budik added his fourth assist of the tournament and skated 26:09. He was a plus-one and had two shots.

In the win, Kamloops Blazers defenseman Ondrej Vala had two shots and skated 17:50 and Spokane Chiefs blue liner Filip Kral had one shot and was a minus-two in 11:26.

Portland Winterhawks d-man Henri Jokiharju, Tri-City Americans blue liner Juuso Valimaki and Swift Current Broncos forward Aleksi Heponiemi all had their tournament end for them. It still is a far better outcome than a year ago for Valimaki, whose 2017 Finns barely avoided relegation.

Jokiharju had four shots in this game and skated 19:33. He finished the 2018 WJCs with two goals and two assist for four points. He had a total of 19 shots on net in five games.

Valimaki, who served as the Finnish captain had two shots and was a minus-one. He was out there for 25:35, a team-high. In five games, he had one goal and three assists for four points. He fired a total of 11 shots on net.

Heponiemi had four shots in this one and eight overall in five games. He skated 16:06 in this one. Heponiemi had two goals in the tournament.

The Czech Republic will take on Canada in the semi-finals on Thursday.

Heponiemi’s Broncos and  Valimaki’s Americans play on Wednesday while Jokiharju’s Winterhawks do battle on Friday. It is unknown whether or not they will be back in time to suit up.

Denmark 5 Belarus 4

It was a game of momentum as Demark and Belarus kicked off their best-of-three relegation series. The loser will not play in the WJCs next season and instead play in Division 1A. First, the Danes reeled off two first period goals, including one that was assisted on by Portland Winterhawks forward Joachim Blichfeld.

Then, Belarus scored a short-handed marker to start things in the second. Calgary Hitmen d-man Vladislav Yeryomenko scored on the power play to make it 2-2 after 40. Yeryomeko had two goals and was a minus-one in 24:45.

Another short-handed marker in the third, followed by another power play goal from Victoria Royals forward Igor Martynov, gave Belarus a 4-2 lead with 11:30 left in regulation. Martynov was a minus-three and had one shot in 13:59.

Then the Danes got to work. Blichfeld scored twice, including one with 34 seconds left to tie the game at four. The Danes then refused to go to overtime, scoring again with just 15 seconds left to win 5-4 and take a 1-0 series lead.

Blichfeld’s three point night, gives him four in his last two games. He had a game-high nine shots on goal and was a plus-three in 24:23.

Prince George Cougars forward Vladislav Mikhalchuk skated 12:13 in the loss.

The two will play again on Thursday.


Canada 8 Switzerland 2

It’s tough to have more of an impact in just 11:56 of ice time. Brett Howden had a goal and three assists for four points and led Canada to an 8-2 quarter-final win over Switzerland. The Canadians rolled again and will take on the Czech Republic in one semi-final on Thursday. Howden started the scoring just 48 seconds into the game. He then assisted on a Drake Batherson marker in the second to make it 4-0.

Regina Pats center Sam Steel then notched his sixth point of the tournament with an assist on Canada’s fifth goal. Steel had three shots in the game in 15:45 of ice time.

After Switzerland got on the board, Howden puck handled brilliantly in the Swiss zone before finding Swift Current Broncos forward Tyler Steenbergen. The puck ended up in the net with Conor Timmins finding the mark. The assist was Steenbergen’s first point of the tourney. He had one shot and was a plus-one in 10:10 of ice time.

The Swiss made it 6-2 in the third period with a short handed goal. Canada then put the Swiss away with two more goals. Kelowna Rockets forward Dillon Dube netted his second of the WJC to make it 7-2, before Howden set up another goal to give us the 8-2 final. Dube had a game-high seven shots in 14:18. Howden was a plus-four with three shots in limited time.

Everett Silvertips goalie Carter Hart was not tested much and stopped 13 of 15.

In the win, Calgary Hitmen d-man Jake Bean had three shots in 16:25, while Cal Foote skated 17:04 and Kale Clague had three shots and was a minus-one in 22:54.

For the Swiss, Kamloops Blazers forward Justin Sigrist ended with one assist in five games. He skated 10:55 in this game.

Sweden 3 Slovakia 2

Kootneay ICE defenseman and Slovakian captain Martin Bodak did everything he could to get his team by the heavy favorites in Sweden. He scored a power play goal in the second and an even strength marker in the third to twice, cut the Swedish lead to one. Unfortunately for him, Slovakia would get no closer and Sweden would be the team advancing to the semi-finals.

The goals gave Bodak three in the tournament. He had nine shots overall in his five games and ended a plus-one. He skated a team-high 21:54 in this one and had three shots.

Vancouver Giants forward Milos Roman skated 20:42 in the game, including eight minutes in the third period when Slovakia was pressing for a goal. He finished the tournament with two goals and eight shots in five games.


USA 4 Russia 2

Big goals are what Portland Winterhawks forward Kieffer Bellows seems to provide for the United States World Junior team. A year ago, he scored twice in the third period in the gold-medal-game. This year, he had four goals coming in, including a shootout winner coming into a big quarter-final game against a Russian program that had medaled for even straight tourneys.

Bellows scored twice more, twice giving the U.S. a one-goal lead. The last lead would be one that they would hold on to. They added an empty netter to eliminate Russia and advance to play Sweden in a semi-final match up Thursday.

U.S. Division player from the WHL were the reason the U.S. took all three of their leads. After Russia scored to tie the game, after Bellows’ first goal, Spokane Chiefs forward Kailer Yamamoto notched his second of the tournament. He followed up a drive on net, giving the U.S. a 2-1 lead. Yamamoto had three shots and was a plus-one in 18:26.

Bellows once again led the U.S. in shots with seven. The game-winner was case in point why his shot is ready for the NHL. A dump in from a teammate banked right to Bellows, who had his stick pulled back ready for a one-timer. He beat the Russian goalie through the five-hole for a 3-2 U.S. lead with 7:29 left.

Bellows named the player of the game. He skated 15:03 of ice time and was a plus-one.

Swift Current Broncos defenseman Artyom Minulin was a minus-one in 19:03 of ice time. He had a total of four penalty minutes and six shots in Russia’s five games.

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