WJC: Canada dominates Slovakia; Switzerland out-lasts Belarus

All five Sabres prospects had Wednesday off while Canada and Switzerland collect wins

Brayton Wilson
December 27, 2017 - 8:36 pm

Photo: Mark Blinch - The Canadian Press via AP

It was a quiet day for the five Buffalo Sabres prospects taking part in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo. All five players were not in game action on Wednesday as just two games took place on Day 2 of the tournament at KeyBank Center.

Wednesday's action featured Team Canada back in action against Slovakia, who had yet to play a game in the tournament. The earlier game of the day featured Switzerland's first game of the tournament as they matched up with Belarus.

The Canadians made things look easy against Slovakia on Wednesday, shutting out the Slovaks 6-0 in front of the Canadian faithful.

The Slovaks kept things close in the first period, only allowing a Canadian goal from Sam Steel (Anaheim Ducks) early in the period.

However, Canada opened things wide open in the second period with three goals to extend its lead to 4-0. St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Taylor Raddysh score on the powerplay in the period, while Jonah Gadjovich (Vancouver Canucks) also scored for the Canadians in the period.

Canada added two more goals in the third period as Maxime Comtois (Ducks) and Gadjovich light the lamp, while Colton Point (Dallas Stars) gets an easy 20-save shutout. Gadjovich earned the Player of the Game honors with his two-goal performance.

In goal for the Slovaks, David Hrenak did just about all he could to limit the Canadian attack with 48 saves on 54 shots faced. However, the Player of the Game honor for Slovakia was given to team captain, Martin Bodak.

Canada will next take to the ice at New Era Field on Thursday for team practice before their outdoor matchup with the United States on Friday at 3 p.m.

As for the other game of the day, Switzerland managed to come away with their first win of the tournament over Belarus by a 3-2 score.

Switzerland got off to a quick start against the Belarusians with a goal from Nicolas Muller as he was the last to touch the puck before it managed to find a way under Andrei Grishenko and into the net. Belarus responded with a goal just before the end of the first period as Maxim Sushko (Philadelphia Flyers) had a couple of chances to stuff home a rebound in the crease. After a third try, Sushko finally put the puck past Philip Wuthrich for his first goal of the tournament.

The score remained 1-1 through the next 20 minutes of action before Belarus grabbed their first lead of the game just 4:25 into the period. After a too many men on the ice bench minor against the Swiss, it was Sushko making a nice play to wait out the defenseman and let a shot go. His original shot his a body in front of the net, but Viktor Bovbel put home the rebound chance to put Belarus up 2-1.

The lead did not last long though as nearly four minutes later, 17-year old Valentin Nussbaumer gathers a loose puck near the Belarus net and manages to lift his shot over the shoulder of Grishenko to tie the game. Nussbaumer is the youngest player in this year's tournament, and won't be eligible to enter the NHL Draft until 2019.

A little over three minutes later, Switzerland re-gains the lead as Philipp Kurashev one-times a pass from Guillaume Maillard in the high slot and just beats Grishenko on the glove side.

Belarus rallied for one more late push with 45-seconds left in the game, but Wuthrich and the Switzerland defense were up to the task and sealed the victory.

Grishenko was fantastic in net for Belarus once again, making 36 saves in the losing effort. However, it was Sushko earning Player of the Game honors with his goal and an assist for Belarus.

On the other end, it was Nussbaumer earning Player of the Game honors for Switzerland with his goal and four shots on goal in 17:48 of total ice-time.

Belarus will next play Friday afternoon when they take on Russia at 12 p.m. at KeyBank Center.

The tournament revs back up again on Thursday with four games on the docket at both KeyBank Center and HarborCenter. Here's how the schedule looks:

  • Finland vs. Denmark - 12 p.m. (KeyBank Center)
  • Russia vs. Switzerland - 2 p.m. (HarborCenter)
  • Sweden vs. Czech Republic - 4 p.m. (KeyBank Center)
  • United States vs. Slovakia - 8 p.m. (KeyBank Center)
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