Monday, January 3, 2011

Caps Kids at WJC: Day 9

The medal round began today with Russia taking on Sweden and Canada playing the US.  The winners of these games will face off Wednesday night for the gold medal, while the losers will play for bronze.

In the fist game were Dmirty Orlov and Evgeny Kuznetsov as Russia and Sweden played at 3:30.  The game was evenly matched the whole way through, and with about 3 minutes to go in regulation the game was tied at 2.  Then, Orlov took an ill-timed slashing penalty.  The Swedes converted on the ensuing power play, seemingly killing the Russian’s dreams of gold. 

However, Orlov then did what Kuznetsov did last night: made up for his mistake.  He shot the puck, and the rebound created a scrum around the crease.  In that scrum, the Russians were able to poke the puck through and tied the game with about a minute and a half to go. Orvlov’s effort earned him an assist on the play.

Kuznetsov was relatively quiet on the score sheet, only recording 2 minutes for roughing in the second period.  However, his strong pressure and forecheck continued, and it helped to run down the Swedish defense.

In the night game between USA and Canada, Cody Eakin and Patrick Wey faced off to see who would face Kuznetsov and Orlov in the gold medal game.  Canada dominated the game from start to finish.  They snuffed any offense the US attempted and capitalized on their own timely chances.  The final score was 4-1.

The game plan Canada used was perfect for Eakin’s style of play.  He was working in the corners, got in hard on the forecheck, and registered an assist on Canada’s first goal.  He has been one of the stronger, more consistent players in the tournament, and it will be interesting to see how his style of play matches up against the skill of Russians.

Wey had yet another solid game for team USA.  He has probably been the best surprise of the Caps prospects so far in the tournament.  We didn’t know much about him heading into Buffalo, but he has been shutting down opponents left and right.  There have been times where he has been the best defenseman on a star-riddled US roster.  This tournament should serve as a springboard for his career, and we may see him signed sooner rather than later because of it.

Only relegation games tomorrow, where Philipp Grubauer and team Germany will take on Norway at 3:30 pm.  The medal round continues on Wednesday, when Wey and team USA will look to beat Sweden to medal for a second straight year.  After that, Kuznetsov and Orlov will face Eakin for bragging rights and international pride.

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