The Canadian under-18 squad did not just beat the Russians in their quest for gold at the Six Nations U-18 Cup on Sunday, they humiliated them in a 9-4 shellacking that gave the red and white their eighth gold medal in the 11 years of the summer tournament.
The team was led by Rick Nash (London, OHL), who not only scored a hat trick, but added a pair of assists as well to finish the tournament with nine points in five games. In addition to Nash, Pierre-Marc Bouchard (Chicoutimi, QMJHL) and Alex Leavitt (Notre Dame, SJHL) added single goals in the first period to put Canada up 3-2 after one.
Russia added a pair of second period goals, but Canada responded with three of their own, one each by Nash, Maxime Talbot (Hull, QMJHL), and Tim Brent (Toronto, OHL). The final frame of the contest belonged to Canada, as Bouchard, Nash, and the Red Deer Rebels’ Derek Meech each added goals to round out the scoring.
Jarret Lukin also added an assist on Leavitt’s goal in the first period.
Maxime Daigneault (Val d’Or, QMJHL) stopped 26 of 30 Russian shots in the winning effort.
Russia’s Nikolai Zherdev posted a hat trick in the loss. Vladislav Evseev posted the other tally for the team.
Let’s take a look and see which ducks prospects have a chance at sticking with the big club this year.
Maxim Balmochnykh: LW-Cincinnati(AHL)- 65GP -6G -9A -15Pts
Maxim is a player that would have already been in the NHL if he had a proper work ethic. Maxim is at crossroads, two years ago he was being compared to Pavel Bure, now he can’t even score in the AHL. This is Maxim’s last chance and i’m betting he makes the most of it but I could be wrong. Flip a coin.
Ilja Bryzgalov: G-Togliatti(Rus)34GP – 0.912 SP% -1.87GAA
Ilja has all the tools to be an impact rookie this year, the only problem is that the the ducks are set in goal with Steve Shields and J.s Giguere. Unless Shields or Giguere are injured for a long period of time Bryzgalov will probably play in the AHL this year.
Stanislav Chistov:RW Avangard Omsk (RUS) 24GP – 4G -7A – 11Pts
Chistov could produce in the NHL this season but it would be a wise move to give the 18 year old another year of development. I think Chistov would profit most playing in the AHL but he will most likely end up staying in Russia for another season.
Jonathan Hedstrom:RW Lulea (SWE) 46GP – 9G – 19A -28Pts
Jonathan needs to come to north america and make the transition to our style of play, although it shouldn’t be difficult because he plays a physical style of hockey. Will probably stay in Sweden for another season. Read more»
There were more than a couple of candidates for promotion on the Baby Buds last season as injury call-ups when one of the big boys went down at the ACC. Adam Mair (since traded to the Los Angeles Kings), Donald Maclean, Jeff Farkas, Mikael Hakansson (since returned to Djurgarten in the SEL), even Alyn McCauley (who actually did make the playoff roster) all had more experience than Alexei Ponikarovsky at the pro level. Nonetheless when the dust cleared it was the big Ukranian who played more NHL games with Toronto than any of them by the campaign’s end with 22. While it is true his stats didn’t overwhelm anyone, it can also be said that playing in the bottom half of the forward rotation, mostly on the fourth line, didn’t help matters any. However, there is much more to any hockey player than statistics and #39 showed in his limited trial that he could be at least Adam Mair’s equal in a checking role (thus opening the door for that transaction).
Ponikarovsky’s game starts with his size 6’4″ 210 pounds and mobility which is above average for his measurements. He uses his big frame not so much to bang and crash the way, say, a Darcy Tucker would, but more in a shielding manner ala Mats Sundin. On more than a few occasions the Leaf farmhand demonstrated he could make himself an imposing obstacle in the corners when others went fishing for the puck. He was simply to big to splatter and too quick to get an angle on. He also showed a willingness to hustle back and take a man after a turnover deep in the offensive zone which is imperative in the Leafs transition offense. Wha Read more»