On Friday, the 2019 IIHF World Championships opened with Team Canada getting toppled in regulation by Finland (3-1), Team USA looking ill-prepared and stumbling to a dismal 4-1 loss to host nation Slovakia in convincing fashion, and the Czech Republic beating defending gold medalist Sweden by 5-2 count.
Flyers-related highlights on Friday included Oskar Lindblom scoring a second-period goal that gave Sweden a short-lived 2-1 lead over the Czechs, and Jakub Voracek notching a pair of assists for his eventually victorious side. Additionally, Radko Gudas (Czech Republic) and Robert Hägg (Sweden) were involved in a multi-player scrum near the end of the game. Neither Sean Couturier (Canada) nor James van Riemsdyk (USA) got on the scoresheet on Friday.
On Saturday, underdog team Austria opens its schedule against Russia. The Russians were 5-2 victors over Norway on Friday. Over on IIHF.com, there is a preview feature
on the Austrian team, with a section on Flyers forward Michael Raffl and his older brother, Thomas. Last year, after the Flyers were eliminated by Pittsburgh in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Michael Raffl joined the Austrian team and led the squad with four goals and one assist in five games.
Also on Saturday, the Czechs return to action against Norway. Game time is 10:15 a.m. EDT.
On Sunday, Canada plays massive underdog Great Britain. USA will go back to the drawing board against France (a team that has pulled off preliminary round upsets of medal contenders several times in recent World Championships), and Sweden will play Italy.
Guelph Moves Within One Win of OHL Championship
The Guelph Storm have become one hell of a Cinderella story in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs. The team recovered from 0-3 and 1-3 deficits in the second and third rounds of the postseason and then fell into an 0-2 hole in the finals against the massively favored Ottawa 67's, who started the playoffs on a 14-0 run after posting the league's top record in the regular season.
On Friday night in Ottawa, the Storm rode a strong first period and timely goaltending to a 4-3 regulation win as they moved within one victory of the OHL championship and a spot in the Memorial Cup. Guelph captain and Flyers prospect Isaac Ratcliffe took first-star honors, scoring a first period goal and racking up nine shots one game after being held without a shot. Ratcliffe now has 12 goals in the playoffs.
Game 6 is in Guelph on Sunday afternoon.