Thursday Recap: Florida Panthers at the IIHF World Championship, Quarterfinals

Nick Bjugstad and Jacob Markstrom advance to the semifinals while three other Cats are bumped from the tournament.

Florida Panthers rookie Nick Bjugstad held his own in a minor role during the USA's 8-3 rout over Russia in quarterfinal play from Helsinki today. Bjugstad logged 7:12 minutes of ice time, posted no points, won 3 of 5 faceoffs, had one shot on goal and finished with an even rating. Paul Stastny knocked in two goals and added two assists and Craig Smith dished out five helpers to power the offensive outburst for the Americans. Alexander Ovechkin, in his first game for Russia, scored a goal and added an assist. Anaheim Ducks prospect John Gibson stopped 31 shots to pick up the win in goal. Ilya Bryzgalov gave up the first four US goals before being replaced by Semyon Varlamov. The USA will meet Switzerland in the semifinals on Saturday in Stockholm.

Brian Campbell gave a solid effort in Canada's 3-2 shootout loss to Sweden today in Stockholm. The veteran defender had no points or shots on goal and finished with an even rating while logging 15:42 minutes of ice time. Panthers goaltender Jacob Markstrom briefly relieved Sweden's starter Jhonas Enroth in overtime, due to an equipment problem, and made two saves. Steven Stamkos put Canada ahead with a power-play goal 45 seconds into the second period. Sweden struck back in the third frame when Nicklas Danielsson beat goalie Mike Smith for a power-play goal with assists going to Daniel and Henrik Sedin. The Swedes took the lead as the Sedin twins set up Danielsson for another power-play tally at the 9:35 mark. A turnover led to a Claude Giroux goal 1:15 later, evening the game at 2-2. After a scoreless ten-minute overtime period, the game went to a shootout. Loui Eriksson and Jordan Eberle traded goals over the first two rounds before Fredrik Pettersson beat Smith to start the fourth round. Eberle went again for Canada and needed to convert to extend the game but his miss sent Sweden to the semifinals where they will take on arch-rival Finland. Enroth ended up making 39 saves to post the win for Sweden.

Tomas Fleischmann's tournament ended with a thud as the Czech Republic was beaten 2-1 by undefeated Switzerland today in Stockholm. Fleischmann went scoreless, fired four shots on goal and finished with an even rating while logging 17:52 minutes of ice time. Denis Hollenstein and Reto Suri scored to give the Swiss a two-goal advantage after two periods. Zdenek Kutlak tallied the only goal for the Czechs in the final frame. Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec took the loss while Martin Gerber made 33 saves to post the win.

Tomas Kopecky and Slovakia were ousted from the tournament today as they fell to Group H winner Finland 4-3 in a game played in Helsinki. Kopecky (who was named Slovakia's player-of-the-game) registered no points, fired two shots on goal, went 3/3 on draws and finished with an even rating while logging minutes 17:07 of ice time. The Panthers forward was also called for hooking in the third period. Finland jumped ahead 3-0 in the first period. Ossi Vaananen opened the scoring and Petri Kontiola fired in his seventh and eighth goals of the tournament. The pesky Slovaks would rally, getting goals from Michel Miklik, Andrej Sekera and the game-tying marker midway through the third from Tomas Surovy. With only 1:47 remaining in regulation, Juhamatti Aaltonen fired the game-winner past Rastislav Stana to send the Finns to the semifinals. Aaltonen also added two assists in the tilt. Goaltender Antti Raanta made 33 saves to pick up the win. Former Cats defender Branislav Mezei assisted on all three Slovak goals.

Thursday's Quarterfinal Round Results

  • USA (Bjugstad: 0Pts even 1SOG) over Russia, 8-3
  • Switzerland over Czech Republic (Fleischmann: 0Pts even 4SOG), 2-1
  • Finland over Slovakia (Kopecky: 0Pts even 2SOG), 4-3
  • Sweden (Markstrom: 2SA 2SV) over Canada (Campbell: 0Pts even 0SOG) , 3-2 (SO)

Tournament Stats Among Panthers Participants (through quarterfinals)

Saturday's Semifinal Round Matches (IIHF Website and live scoring)

  • Finland vs. Sweden (Markstrom) 9 am
  • Switzerland vs. USA (Bjugstad) 1 pm