Dessner`s WCHA All-Stars Blast Norwegian Elite Teams

By Evan Andriopoulos

The WCHA All Stars which included 7 NHL draftees, including New York Rangers University of Wisconsin product Jeff Dessner, toured Greater Oslo and Lillehammer and put a hurting on the Norwegian clubs by a combined score of 22-3.

The first game featured the WCHA team against Elite Series club Lillehammer. If not for the excellent goaltending of Swedish keeper Bengt Høglund, who made 39 Saves, the WCHA players may have scored 15. The US side played physical, upbeat hockey and dominated from the start, and won the game by a score of 5-0.

The second game came against Frisk-Asker, last years no. 3 team. Frisk scored first on a goal by Finn Mika Kannisto. The WCHA rallied with 7 straight.

Game Recap:

Frisk Tigers – WCHA All Stars 1-7 (1-0, 0-1, 0-6)
Friday 18. August 2000
1. period:
1-0 (11.36) Mika Kannisto (Lars Erik Lund, Tor Inge Meltveit).
2. periode:
1-1 (22.11) Mat Snesrud (Derek Derow).
3. periode:
1-2 (41.47) Björn Engström,
1-3 (42.55) Bryan Lundbohm (Jeff Panzer),
1-4 (43.26) Jesse Rooney (Mark Cullen, Jordan Leopold),
1-5 (44.22) Erik Westrum (Kelly Popadynetz),
1-6 (52.34) Paul Cabana (Jeff Panzer),
1-7 (53.06) Derek Derow (Andy Reierson).
Shots: 27-43 (8-15, 8-11, 11-17)
Penalties: Frisk Tigers 4×2 min, WCHA 5×2 min.

In the 3rd Game, perenial Norwegian Champion and last year’s runner up, VIF Hockey of Oslo, fell 10-2. Rangers pick Dessner played physical, tight defensive hockey. The WCHA completely outclassed the older Norwegians and played high tempo from the start. Dessner covered the slot well and backchecked well when getting beat or caught up. His game looks to be developing and this year could be a break-through year. One concern is his size against NHL competition. After watching him play I believe he could use at least another 10 pounds to be an effective NHL defender. Mark Cullen was also a standout as was Derek Derow for the WCHA team.

This just shows how far behind the Norwegian sides are. VIF last year featured 9 and 10 Swedish players, many former All Svensken (1st Division – One level below top)… and some run of the mill Swedish Elite players. The US played a constant high tempo game and capitalized on virtually all classic N. American Opportunities, those being right in front. A difference between European and North American games is the amount of shots and where they come from. The Europeans typically look to maximize their opportunities…while North American`s simply fire from all angles. Regardless, a wonderful showing by some of tomorrow`s stars!