Russian duo advances to semifinalsDanila Zhuravlyov and Nikolai Kovalenko are the only remaining Avs prospects at this year’s World Juniors, as both Martin Kaut and Shane Bowers bow out.
And then there were two. Russian youngsters Danila Zhuravlyov and Nikolai Kovalenko are the only remaining Avalanche prospects at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, as Russia cruised to the semifinals following a dominating 8-3 win against Slovakia. Both Martin Kaut and Shane Bowers end their World Juniors quest in the quarterfinals, with the Czechs bowing out after being handed a 3-1 defeat by the United States and Canada shockingly losing 2-1 to Finland in overtime.
The Canadians won’t be playing for medals when hosting the World Juniors for the very first time in history, shockingly losing to Finland in OT despite leading 1-0 up until the final minute of regulation. Aleksi Heponiemi’s strike with 47 seconds left in the third forced overtime and despite Canadian captain Maxime Comtois having a perfect opportunity to end the game with a penalty shot in OT, the Finns capitalized on a broken play in their own zone, jumping on a break and kicking the hosts out of the tournament a little over 5 minutes into the extra frame. Shane Bowers was bumped down to the third line, playing over 18 minutes but not having much of an impact, ending the night -1. Overall, Bowers played in all 5 games at the tournament, recording two assists and being promoted to the second line as the tournament progressed. It’s worth noting that Bowers is the only Canadian to end the tournament with an even plus minus, with all his teammates finishing at least +1.
Bowers finished with 2 points (both assists) in 5 games in his World Juniors debut (Source: Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Martin Kaut and the Czechs once again failed to find their offense, losing 3-1 to the United States while being outshot 41-19. Lukas Dostal was once again doing everything he could to keep his team in the contest, but the struggling offense doomed the Czechs despite Kaut’s goal cutting the lead to one following the halfway mark of the final frame. Following their tournament exit, the Czechs now haven’t won a World Juniors medal in 14 years. Kaut was the lone bright spot on the hapless Czech offense, as he finishes the tournament leading the team in both goals (3) and points (4). Kaut lamented the team’s offensive woes despite having prospects like Martin Necas and Filip Zadina on the roster. “It’s not normal for us. Now we’re out and I’m coming back to the AHL,” said Kaut for IIHF.com following the game. The Avalanche’s first-round pick was named among the Czech Republic’s top three players of the tournament.
Kaut was named as one the Czech Republic's top three players of the tournament (Source: Minas Panagiotakis/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Danila Zhuravlyov and Nikolai Kovalenko are thus the only remaining Avs prospects at the tournament following Russia’s dominant victory against Slovakia, in which they were up 7-0 at one point. Kovalenko tallied assists on two of Russia’s four first-period goals less than two minutes apart, while Zhuravylov finally recorded his first World Juniors point, assisting on Klim Kostin’s second-period marker. Kovalenko once again appeared on Russia’s third line alongside Stepan Starkov and Pavel Shen, playing almost 13 minutes. Zhuravlyov, on the other hand, had his TOI cut down to 11:52 despite being listed on the team’s first defensive pairing. Leading the Russians in ice-time in their tournament opener, the young blueliner has seen his playtime steadily decrease and it’ll be interesting to see how much he plays in the semifinals against the US.
Kovalenko assisted on two of Russia's four first-period goals (Source: Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Kazakhstan – Denmark 4:3 (2:1, 1:0, 1:2)
Sweden – Switzerland 0:2 (0:1, 0:1, 0:0)
Canada – Finland 1:2 after OT (0:0, 1:0, 0:1, 0:1) [Shane Bowers without a point (2 assists in 5 GP overall)]
USA – Czech Republic 3:1 (1:0, 1:0, 1:1) [Martin Kaut – 1 point (1+0; 3+1 in 5 GP overall)]
Russia – Slovakia 8:3 (4:0, 3:0, 1:3) [Danila Zhuravlyov – 1 point (0+1); Nikolai Kovalenko – 2 points (0+2)]
Denmark – Kazakhstan
Russia – USA
Finland – Switzerland
Michal Hezely, Slovakia, firstname.lastname@example.org
03/01/2019 - 17:00