THE ROMAN FREE PRESS
Poland 3, Quebec 2- Robert Filipiak recorded 40 saves for Poland to stave off a furious Quebecois rally to record the day’s most improbable victory, a 3-2 result by Poland in their first victory over Quebec since 1998. Waldemar Traczyk had two assists to pace the Polish attack, who received goals from Jacek Banasik, Janusz Dembski and former New York Islander Mauriz Czerkowski. Quebec got goals from Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis.
“This is a special victory for us,” said Traczyk after the game. “To defeat a team with the quality of Quebec is special, and shows how far Polish hockey has come. We will build from this.”
Midway through the second period, the Poles looked like they were on their way to a relatively easy win. They led 2-0 after the first period, with Banasik making it 3-0 at the 7:12 mark of the second. Still, their defence was porous, as the team was badly outshot 42-14 for the game, meaning that Quebec would eventually find a way back into the game. St. Louis’ goal at 19:10 brought the score to within one, setting up a furious final minute but Filipiak held his ground.
“We have no excuse,” said Quebec goaltender J.C. Petit after the game, who had an uncharacteristically poor performance. “We just didn’t have it tonight. They were better prepared and it showed. We have to be better next time.”
Great Britain 4, France 1- French goaltender Gilles Pages made 48 saves to keep the result respectable as Great Britain avoided a scare with a 4-1 victory over France that was in doubt until the final 15 seconds, when Daniel Cranston scored twice. Roster PlaceHolder194 held the fort for Britain, while his brother Roster PlaceHolder88 scored what would hold up to be the game-winning goal. Simon Greffe replied for France in the dying minutes of the second period, putting the score at 2-1 that led to a frantic closing period.
“Hats off to them,” said Cranston. “They were resilient, gave us quite the fight. We knew what they were capable of and they showed it. We’re rivals, so I expected them to play hard. We were just able to meet their challenge.”
After the game it was reported that Sidney Crosby was with some female French fans at a London nightclub. Details were not forthcoming at press time, more will be released when it is known.
Canada 7, Japan 2- One of the few powerhouses to have a powerhouse day, Mike Richards had five points to pace the Canadian rout of Japan, a team they have never lost to. Also contributing were Joe Thornton with a pair of goals and Chris Dempsey with a goal and an assist.
Rome 5, Belarus 4- The Romans got a big performance out of defenceman Lars Frolik and centre Jiri Hudler and needed it to overcome inspired Byelorussian Oleg Tsarik’s hat trick that kept an upset minded Belarus in the game. Said Roman star Alberto Cacciaguerra after the game, “we were surprised at first at how much jump they had, but we were able to adjust.” Starting goaltender Oliver Jonas, who made 20 saves for the win, said he knows he has to be better in the next game. “We were sluggish. Give them credit, they knew we weren’t prepared and they pounced on us. It nearly worked. That should be enough of a wakeup call.”
In Bratislava, Slovakia got a pair of goals from Marian Hossa to convincingly dump Austria 4-1.
In Riga, Saxony’s Reto von Arx scored at the 6:37 mark of the third period to give the Saxons a well deserved tie with Latvia at 2-2, a game that was more entertaining than it looked.
In Donetsk, Russia’s Alexei Yashin had a hat trick to pace a sluggish 4-0 Russian win over the Ukraine. Despite the margin, Russia was outshot 31-15 by Ukraine and relied on poor Ukrainian shooting to avoid the upset. Russian goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov said after the game that he’s going to order some mail-order defencemen from Siberia, and then muttered something about the snow in Buffalo.
In Karakorum, Finland posted a 4-1 victory over the Mongols in the grand opening of Genghis Khan Arena, which featured a re-enactment of Genghis Khan’ most famous victory at Samarkand. The re-enactment, more entertaining than the game itself, concerned a battle where Genghis Khan solidified his reputation as a ruthless general where he used prisoners of war as human shields. The display was well received afterwards, but it inspired no one on the ice, causing half of the crowd to leave before the second period after booing their listless warriors.
In Tromso, the Sedin twins combined for all four goals as Sweden trounced Norway 4-0. The arena was so cold because of the weather that dehumidifiers were not needed to keep the ice fresh.
In Copenhagen, the United States needed a late third period flurry to bury Denmark 5-0. The resilient Danes actually outshot the Americans for most of the game but could not bury any of their chances, leading to a five goal outburst halfway through the third period to seal the game for the Americans against their demoralized counterparts.