Eight tournament games have taken place in the last two days of 2006. On December 30th, Finland took on Switzerland and Sweden took on Germany. Meanwhile, in games concerning the Habs, Belarus took on the Czech Republic and Slovakia took on the US. The next night, there were another four games on the schedule. Canada was looking to continue their undefeated streak, as they closed out the round robin with a game against lowly Slovakia while the USA was trying to keep their tournament alive with a game against Sweden. Russia looked to secure it’s position as it took on Finland while the last game of the night was The Czech Republic taking on the Swiss.
All of the prospects put up fairly good results in these few days, and it shows as three of four of them were victorious. Sergei Kostitsyn was the only one that didn’t come out on top, but he still played very well.
Carey Price. Carey started his 4th straight game for Team Canada, as they looked to improve to 4-0 in the round robin once again. Though the game was expected to be a wash, the Slovaks did press to a small extent, as Price had to face 32 shots. But in the end, he would stop all of them and record his 2nd shutout in four games. Carey looked excellent out there, making several key saves. Though for the large part they were easy saves, Carey was tested and preformed beautifully. With his help, Canada would defeat Slovakia 3-0.
Sergei Kostitsyn: Sergei and Belarus were up against the Czechs, as the game was expected to be a mismatch. Belarus would come out flying though, and really battled for the win. Meanwhile, Sergei also really brought his game. He would put up a monestrous 9 shots against Ondrej Pavalec. He simply could not buy a goal though, as each of those shots were turned away. In all though, his play was impressive, and certainly gives us something to look forward to. Despite Kostitsyn’s impressive play, the Czechs would squeak through with a 2-1 win.
Juraj Mikus: In his 1st game, Juraj was facing the Americans. Despite being blown out, he would notch the Slovaks lone goal. He would also put up three shots, and be a respectable even. On the 31st,Mikus and his winless teammates were facing powerhouse Canada, and the previously mentioned Carey Price. It certainly was not a game to remember for Mikus and his team. On top of being shutout and moving to 0-4, Mikus had no goals, no assists, and no shots. Mikus needs to make more of his ice time, and really need to step up. This kind of effort certainly leaves a lot to be desired.
Pavel Valentenko: Pavel has been a nice surprise this tournament. His defensive play has been very good, and he is certainly starting to look like the steal Trevor Timmins said he was. He and his countrymen faced off against Finland, as Russia continued a fairly impressive tournament. Pavel would have a somewhat quiet game though. He would put up one shot, while being even. His continued to show he was solid defensively though, and competes every night. Russia would knock off Finland 5-0.
It was a fairly good night for prospects, the only exception being Mikus’ performance. He really needs to step up and show more consistency then he has so far in this tournament. In other games, Finland knocked of Switzerland 4-0, and Sweden beat Germany 3-1 on December 30th. On the 31st, the US stayed alive with a 3-2 OT win over the Swedes, and the Czechs beat the Swiss 4-2.