After Slovakia took Russia all the way to overtime on Wednesday, it was clear this wasn’t a team to be taken lightly.
Slovakia reinforced that notion today against Canada, even though it ultimately lost, 6-3.
Marko Dano found the back of the net early in the contest to make it 1-0 for the Slovaks.
Things then went bad to worse for Canada when J.C. Lipon was ejected from the game for hitting Tomas Mikus in the head. Mikus got revenge by extending Slovakia’s lead to 2-0 during the ensuing power play.
Ryan Strome managed to get Canada its first goal at 2:16 of the second period, but any momentum that created was squandered when Anthony Camara got a five-minute major and game misconduct for charging Slovakia’s Patrik Luza. Once again Slovakia made Canada pay by regaining its two-goal lead before Camara’s major expired.
That proved to be the high point of the game for Slovakia. Barely a minute passed before Morgan Rielly responded for Canada and Slovakia unraveled. Canada went on to earn a 6-3 victory.
After winning two games in a row, Canada will face the United States on Sunday. They will then wrap up the preliminary round with a Dec. 31 contest against Russia.
In other WJC News…
— Los Angeles Kings’ prospect Tomas Hyka netted the game-winning goal in the Czech Republic’s 3-1 win over Finland. That was a critical victory for the Czech Republic after its loss to Sweden on Wednesday.
— Sweden earned a 3-2 shootout win against Switzerland. Teams only earn two points for an overtime victory, down from three points in a regulation win. Still, Sweden is currently leading Group A with five points in two games.
This fight between Tom Wilson, Chris Stewart got downright gory (Video)
For those who decry the decline in fighting – in “blood and guts” hockey – Tuesday presented a bloody moment, one fairly high on this season’s Muta scale.
Also, for some, seeing it happen to Tom Wilson specifically may provide additional pleasure.
Anyway, as you can see in the video above, Minnesota Wild winger Chris Stewart bloodied the Washington Capitals pest in a fight. Whether you’re for, against or neutral toward Wilson, it’s quite the sight.
Wilson may be hurt, by the way. He missed some time but returned later in the contest.
Auston Matthews likely ranks as the top reason that many Toronto Maple Leafs are starting to get the same feelings they had in better times, so it only makes sense that he broke a beloved Buds’ record on Tuesday.
With his 35th goal of a potential Calder season – but a brilliant debut either way – Matthews passed Wendel Clark for the Maple Leafs’ rookie record for goals in a season.
That goal was also meaningful for William Nylander, as he extended his point streak to 12 games with an assist. This team, fueled by young players, just keeps shattering first-year marks:
Leafs rookie record watch:
GOALS – 35 Matthews ASSISTS – 40 Marner tied with Bodnar POINT STREAK – 12 games Nylander SHG – 3 Hyman
The U.S. women’s national team voted in favor of accepting USA Hockey’s deal, so they’ll participate in the world championship tournament. USA Hockey recently made the news official with this press release.
The press release confirmed a report that the contract will last four years, while financial terms were kept confidential. (Team members had been seeking a living wage to represent USA Hockey.)
“Our sport is the big winner today,” Team captain Meghan Duggan said. “We stood up for what we thought was right and USA Hockey’s leadership listened. In the end, both sides came together. I’m proud of my teammates and can’t thank everyone who supported us enough. It’s time now to turn the page. We can’t wait to play in the World Championship later this week in front of our fans as we try and defend our gold medal.”
As much as many of us suffer during a trip to the dentist, few can fathom the horrors hockey players often go through when a puck, stick or fist finds their teeth/mouths. Consult this vintage PHT post from 2010 if you want to cringe, a lot.
Couture, Wilson said, did not need to have his jaw wired shut after a deflected puck caught him in the mouth on Saturday when the Sharks played the Nashville Predators.
“Hey, he can speak and eat … and his jaw isn’t wired shut!” Yeesh.
To little surprise, Couture isn’t playing on Tuesday. As far as the Sharks next three games (Thursday, Friday and Sunday), that remains to be seen.
As an aside, consider this: on the same day Jonathan Drouin‘s celebrating his birthday after helping the Lightning win, Couture is lucky if he can force down some birthday cake. Life: it isn’t always fair.