Switzerland 3 Belarus 2
Canada 6 Slovakia 0
December 28, 2017
Finland vs Denmark
Russia vs Switzerland
Sweden vs Czech Republic
December 29, 2017
Belarus vs Russia
Canada vs USA (outdoor game, weather permitting)
Swiss edge Belarus
Nicolas Muller and Valentin Nussbaumer also scored for Switzerland. For Belarus, Maxim Sushko had a goal and an assist and Viktor Bovbel had the other goal.
“It was a tough game but we won, and that’s the most important thing,” said Kurashev.
It was the second straight loss for newly promoted Belarus, whose starting goalie Andrei Grishenko performed valiantly as shots on goal favored Switzerland 40-29.
“Our start was not so good,” said Belarus’s Igor Martynov. “We had a lot of mistakes and gave up a goal. But then we managed to play better. However, the last two goals broke our game. We should play better, we should fight, we should attack. Then I think everything will be OK.”
Diligent and disciplined as always, the Swiss lack a Nico Hischier-style game-breaker this year, and are looking for scoring by committee.
“We didn’t take advantage of our chances in the first two periods and that made it tough for us,” said captain Nando Eggenberger. “In the third, we were much more effective. We have to score on our chances, especially the rest of the tournament as the games get more important. We had a lot of shots but not many goals.”
Canada moves to 2-0
Colton Point, making his Team Canada debut, stopped 20 mostly harmless shots to record the shutout.
Jonah Gadjovich had two goals while Jordan Kyrou had a goal and two assists to take over the tournament scoring lead with four points.
“I thought that we got better as the game went on,” Gadjovich remarked, “and I think we’ve gotten better every period. We’re doing well in building our game, and I thought I did well contributing in all areas of the ice. It’s special. You watch guys from the past who have scored, and it means a lot to help our country.”
Steel agreed. “We’re building. Each and every period, we want to get better. We didn’t have quite the effort we wanted yesterday, but I thought tonight we got better every period. We’re going in the right direction.”
The result couldn’t have been a surprise given that Canada has never lost to Slovakia in 20 years of U20 play. The record is now 12 wins and a tie, and that small sign of life from Slovakia was only a scoreless draw in 1998.
Canada now has two days off to prepare for its monumental showdown with the U.S., outdoors at New Era Field. The Slovaks play those same Americans tomorrow night, indoors, at Key Bank Center.
Tonight, Canada showed great speed and puck pursuit, using superior tenacity and strength to claim most of the loose pucks and maintain possession.
Steel’s opening marker came off a deflected pass in the slot. The puck wound up on his stick with goalie David Hrenak looking for a shot the other way. Steel had an open net, which he hit, at 3:39.