Sunday, January 5, 2014

And then insanity ruled the day

Finland's #12 Ville Pokka (Andre Ringuette HHOF/IIHFImages)
So all those who predicted that Ville Pokka (NYI 2012 2nd) and Finland would knock off Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) and Adam Pelech (NYI 2012 3rd)'s Canadian team 5-1 in the semifinals of the World Under-20 Championships please stand up so we can laugh at you for lying. I however did predict that Sweden would win the gold medal but won't claim any claim that they would eliminate Pavel Buchnevich's (NYR 2013 3rd) Russian squad in a finish that not even the WWE could have scripted any better.

Really Sweden and Russia in an ugly fight filled ending while Canada and Team USA try to make sense of a very disappointing finish for both teams. While Canada at least still has a shot at a bronze medal, USA hockey has some soul searching to do.

On Saturday one could hear the critics all lining up to trash Hockey Canada after being embarrassed 5-1 by Finland and imagine if this scene repeats itself over the next 3 years while Hockey Canada and the IIHF gouges the heck out of ticket prices for tournaments in Montreal and Toronto.

For me watching Portland Winterhawk Nick Petan getting called for a misconduct for "abuse of official" something more in line with what his Portland linemate Brenden Leipsic would pull caught me off guard but then watching Jonathan Drouin taking a misconduct 39 seconds after Drouin had scored to get Canada back in the game 1-2 told me that this wasn't Canada's night.

Ville Pokka registered his 3rd assist of the tournament to propel Finland into the Finals against Sweden in what will have Europeans rightfully enjoying the moment. In the other semi, Pavel Buchnevich and his Russian teammates could never get their offense going against Sweden and lost 2-1. Buchnevich raised his own stock among Ranger fans with his play.

Meanwhile back in North America the insanity was in Minnesota where prior to this weekend's Mariucci Classic, the talk was all about top ranked Minnesota and number 2 Ferris State not meeting each other during the tournament to see who was the real number one. Someone forgot to tell the Colgate Raiders that their role was supposed to be cannon fodder as the Raiders first tied Minnesota and then shutout Ferris State 3-0 to win the Classic.

Brady Skjei (NYR 2012 1st) returned to the Minnesota lineup going scoreless but was a +2. Taylor Cammarata (NYI 2013 3rd) had an assist on Minnesota's 5th goal for his 9th assist and 13th overall point in Minnesota's 6-2 win over Rensselaer in the 3rd place game.

Jake Bischoff (NYI 2012 7th) was scoreless on no shots.

Ryan Pulock (NYI 2013 1st)
earned the secondary assist on the game winning goal as his Brandon Wheat Kings defeated Kyle Burroughs (NYI 2013 6th) and his Regina Pats 4-3 on a goal with just 4 seconds remaining in overtime. It was a recovery from an almost disastrous setting for the Wheat Kings as they took a 3-0 lead into the 3rd period only to see Regina rally to tie the game and force the overtime.

For Pulock, the assist was his 20th on the season and 33rd point. Burroughs was scoreless and a -1 for the night.

Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011 3rd) returned to 13th ranked Notre Dame's lineup as the Fighting Irish took on 4th ranked Boston College for the first time as members of the Hockey East. The two teams chose Boston's Fenway Park as the setting for this first game but the game should have been indoors.

In a game that was delayed by the opening game of the doubleheader dubbed "Frozen Fenway" and marred by several delays due to the poor ice conditions saw Boston College earn a 4-3 win. Fogarty who had been out since November 15th with a hip injury was scoreless on 1 shot.

Teammate Robbie Russo (NYI 2011 4th) had a secondary assist on Notre Dame's first goal of the game. It was Russo's 9th assist of the season and 12th point.

Troy Donnay (NYR 2013 UFA) was scoreless as his Erie Otters broke a 3-3 tie with 2 goals in the 3rd period to earn a 5-3 win over the Owen Sound Attack. Donnay was a +1 in the game as the Otters held on to first place in the OHL during the World Under-20 championships.

Doyle Somerby (NYI 2012 5th) and his Boston College Terriers were defeated by Harvard 7-4 in an ugly game for Somerby. Somerby was scoreless and a -3 for the night.

Victor Crus-Rydberg (NYI 2013 5th)
returned to the Plymouth Whalers lineup as they earned a 4-3 shootout win over the Niagara IceDogs. Crus-Rydberg missed his last game as the result of some sort of jaw injury but played normally against the IceDogs.

Stephon Williams (NYI 2013 4th) was "DNP" for his Minnesota Mavericks but why Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) did not play for the Rimouski Oceanic is a bit of a mystery.

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