EHLERS DOES IT AGAIN, DANES WIN GROUP B AT WJAC
JASON LA ROSE
KINDERSLEY, Sask. – Nikolaj Ehlers continued his hot start at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, scoring a hat trick to lead Denmark to a 4-2 win over Russia on Monday afternoon.
The win is the second for the Danes in less than 24 hours – they beat Canada West 3-2 on Sunday night – and clinches first place in Group B and a bye directly to the semifinals; they won’t see the ice again until Thursday.
Anders Krogsgaard had the other goal for Denmark, which followed a similar script to its Sunday win – take a 2-1 lead, allow the game-tying goal seven minutes into the third period, and look to Ehlers for the game-winner in the dying minutes.
Mikhail Vorobyov and Denis Guryanov scored for Russia, which lost its tournament-opening game for the first time since 2011.
The Russians took the early lead thanks to Vorobyov, who finished a give-and-go with Guryanov by cruising through the slot and snapping a shot past Danish goaltender George Sorenson at 7:02.
Ehlers tied the game on a buzzer beater; with the Danes killing a penalty, a clearing attempt from Matias Lassen richocheted right onto the stick of Ehlers, who beat Ilya Samsonov on a shorthanded breakaway with less than a second remaining in the first period.
Denmark had the offensive advantage in the second, outshooting Russia 11-7, but the teams headed to the intermission still tied.
Ehlers needed just 2:31 of the second period to give the Danes the lead for the first time, faking a slap shot before dancing around a sprawling Russian defenceman and ripping a shot over the glove of Samsonov on the power play.
Russia tied the game at 7:25 when Guryanov tipped in an Alexander Kozyrev point shot, but Ehlers scored his second game-winning goal in as many days with 2:53 left, cutting hard to the Russian net before finding space over Samsonov’s short-side shoulder from in tight.
Krogsgaard capped the scoring with a long-range empty-net goal in the final minute.
Russia finishes its preliminary round schedule on Tuesday night, meeting Canada West in a second-place showdown at the West Central Events Centre (7:30 p.m. CT).