We have now seen every team play at least two games at the IIHF World Championships 2012 and on the whole everything has gone to plan for the fancied nations. Except, it could be argued, if the nation is based in North America.
The opening day saw the favourites in all the games come out on top with the only possible ‘surprises’ being the pre-championship favourites, Canada struggling to a 3-2 win over Slovakia. Whilst the defending champions, Finland could only muster a 1-0 defeat of Belarus. The other games finished;
- USA 7-2 FRA
- GER 3-0 ITA
- CZE 2-0 DEN
- SWE 3-1 NOR
The highlight of the first day – in tPB’s mind at least - being the goal from Marcus Kruger for Sweden just before one minute in the video below;
Day two saw Russia enter the fray with a routine 5-2 victory over Latvia, Yevgeni Malkin scoring two and assisting another. Switzerland overcame Kazakhstan much to everybody’s expectation (5-1) in the other earlier game. The evening’s match-ups saw four of the Big-Six go head to head with Tre Konor taking on the Czech Republic, five time winners since 1999. Whilst the Canadians took on the USA.
The latter was the first game that had needed overtime in this years Championships, a goal from Columbus Blue Jackets’ Jack Johnson decided the 4-4 contest, seemingly giving the USA pole position in the Helsinki Group.
Sweden versus Czech Republic was a more routine affair with the hosts of the Stockholm participants coming out on top by four goals to one, the highlights of which can be seen below.
Day three saw the majority of the middling to lower nations play each other, with the exception of Finland – Slovakia. The defending champions mirrored their opening game against Belarus by winning the game with a single first period goal. This time scored by HIFK Helsinki’s Janne Pesonen.
France improved their Goals +/- after their 7-2 opening reverse at the hands of USA by winning 6-3 versus Kazakhstan, Italy overcame Denmark 4-3 and Russia had a closer game than was expected against the Norwegians whilst scoring four to their opponent’s two. Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings notching his first goal of the Championship.
Yesterday (Sunday 7th, 2012) saw the French take another humping. This time at the hands of the Canadians, 7-2, again. They were without their influential forward Sacha Treille who recieved an IIHF record punishment of four games for an on-ice incident after this hit on Kazakhstan’s Roman Starchenko;
But that would not have had much influence on the outcome seeing how the Canadians exploited the open ice they don’t have the benefit of in the NHL.
Two other Big Six nations made relatively hard work of their opponents though. First up the Czech Republic drew each of their regular time periods against Norway one goal apiece before Edmonton Oilers’ Ales Hemsky scored the Game Winning Goal (i.e. winning penalty shot) to give them their second win from their three opening games.
The Swedish team, on the other hand raced into a four goal lead before ending the first period 4-1 against their Danish foes. They ‘won’ the second period 2-1 before ‘losing’ the third 2-0. Both Danish goals coming fairly early in the third leaving last years silver medalists hanging on. The highlights of which can be seen below;
Then there was USA versus Slovakia. We did tip the Slovaks as a relative dark horse in this years Championships and after 0-1 & 2-3 reverses against Finland and Canada it was not too much of a surprise to see them, captained by Zdeno Chara overcome the United States.
The relative control they had over the game was surprising. You can see the highlights of which below, what you won’t see is the Zdeno Chara-Max Pacioretty handshake that was so overhyped. Which is good.
All of the IIHF World Championship 2012 highlights can be seen on our IHHFWC2012 YouTube Channel here.