Well, the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championship is under way and day’s one and two featured games pitting Coyote against Coyote. So let’s recap.
SWE v RUS
Day one started off with Oliver Ekman-Larsson and the 5th seeded team Sweden facing off against 2nd seeded Russia. The game took place in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,537 at Lanxness Arena in Cologne, Germany.
Ekman-Larsson was paired with Jonas Brodin (Minnesota Wild), playing on the second line with Marcus Kruger (Chicago Blackhawks), Minnesota Wild rookie Joel Erikkson Ek, and the KHL’s Linus Omark (Salavat Yulaev Ufa).
It was a decently matched game between the two countries. Carolina’s Elias Lindholm scored the only goal for team Sweden on Tampa Bay Lightning goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy is no stranger to international competition, as he was a member of the 2014 IIHF MWC Russian team that went undefeated in Minsk, Belarus and won the gold medal. During that tournament, Vasilevskiy let in one goal in two games and recorded a shutout.
It would be a late goal, with only 3:58 left in the third period, by the KHL’s Sergei Andronov that would push the game to OT. While Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov had the best chance to end it there, the game would ultimately be decided in a shootout.
After a shoot-out miss by Ekman-Larsson, Chicago’s Artemi Panarin scored the lone goal to seal the win for team Russia. They beat Sweden 2-1 in the SO, but with the three-point system in play, Russia took two points from the game while Sweden took one.
At the end of it all, Ekman-Larsson finished the game with 3 shots on goal and 14:19 TOI.
GER v USA
The tournament fully kicked off when host country Germany took on team USA in their first regulation game of the 2017 IIHF MWC. This game featured 4 Coyotes. Tobias Rieder played on the top line for Germany with EHC’s Brooks Macek, and Dominik Kahoun, and defensemen Moritz Müller and Dennis Seidenberg (New York Islanders).
Meanwhile, Captain of the US team Connor Murphy also played on the top line with defensive partner Danny Dekeyser (Detroit Red Wings) and forwards Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames), Buffalo Sabres’ Jack Eichel and Anders Lee (New York Islanders). Christian Dvorak and Clayton Keller played together on the third line with Chicago’s Nick Schmaltz, paired with Boston Bruins defensemen Charlie McAvoy and his partner Chicago’s Trevor van Riemsdyk.
It would be a battle of the roommates as Rieder and Murphy would be the two to score the first goals for their respective teams. Rieder’s goal was at 10:50 in the first, a tip over the pad of Detroit’s goaltender Jimmy Howard, and would be his third at a MWC and his first this year. He now has 7 points in his four years competing in the tournament.
Murphy’s goal, coming at 11:00 in the third period, would tie the game for team USA.
This goal for Murphy would be his fourth at a MWC. Last year he scored three goals in 10 games, the most out of any defenseman in the tournament and was named a player of the tournament for team USA. This was his first regulation point as Captain. He also notched one assist in the prelim game against Italy.
While Dvorak and Keller didn’t have a bad game, they were virtually invisible as team USA’s high possession game ended in vain.
Unfortunately, Murphy’s goal wouldn’t be enough. With a late goal by Patrick Hager off a shot by Seidenberg, Germany would take a 2-1 lead and the regulation win. Unable to force the game to OT, team USA walked away without a point and Germany picked up three. This is not the first time that team USA lost their first game to Germany; in 2010, team USA and team Germany faced off outdoors and the US lost.
Rieder finished with one goal, three SOG, and 15:09 TOI. Murphy finished with one goal, two SOG, and 18:56 TOI. Dvorak finished with two SOG and 14:07 TOI. Keller finished with one SOG and 13:25 TOI.
Murphy was also named the player of the game for team USA.
GER vs SWE
In the second day of competition, there was another contest between Coyotes teammates as Tobias Rieder and team Germany took on Oliver Ekman-Larsson and team Sweden.
This is not the first time these two teams have met in the IIHF MWC. In 2015 in Prague, the two faced off in a game that resulted in a 4-3 win for Sweden.
6:56 into the first period, it would be Ekman-Larsson who would find the back of the net first, putting Sweden up 1-0.
The goal is Ekman-Larsson’s fourth goal at a MWC and his first point of the tournament.
Germany and Sweden would trade goals back and forth until Sweden took a 4-2 lead late in the second. While Rieder did not score a goal in this match, he was still one of the top players for team Germany with his net-front presence and speed. In the third period, the game turned into a slaughter, with Sweden winning 7-2 and picking up three desperately needed points.
Ekman-Larsson finished with one goal, three SOG, a plus/minus of +3, and 21:29 TOI.
Rieder finished with one SOG and 15:39 TOI.
You can watch team USA take on team Denmark on Sunday at 7:15 AM PST. There will be one last Coyote vs Coyote game as team Sweden, in their next game, faces off against team USA on Monday. Lastly, team Germany will take on Russia on Monday.
Details on the full schedule, times, and how to watch can be found in our IIHF Coyotes Primer here.