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Team NAHL Opens International Play At Sirius World Cup

Photo courtesy of NAHL: Team NAHL Captain Jake Beaune takes part in the opening ceremony for the 2019 Sirius Junior World Cup in Sochi Russia.

Team NAHL opened play in the Sirius Ice Hockey World Cup against Oulun Karpat U20 from Finland. Karpat was the 2018 SM-Liiga Champion in the highest league in Finland. Team NAHL is composed of one player from each of the 26 teams in the NAHL. Team NAHL had practiced together only a handful of times and played a single exhibition game prior to taking the ice at Shayba Olympic Arena in Sochi, Russia.

The speed of the Finns and the larger Olympic ice came into play with the NAHL chasing and having difficulty generating offense most of the contest. An inability to stay of the penalty box doomed the NAHL putting them in a hole they could not climb out of.

It did not take long for the NAHL to break the ice as just 20 seconds after the opening faceoff Gabe Temple (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights) swiped the puck inside the NAHL defensive zone. Temple carried it down the far boards to the blueline before sending it to Nate Horn (Minnesota Wilderness) at center. Horn danced around a couple of defenders then rifled a wrister between the glove and body of Joel Blomqvist.

Karpat came right back to knot the score less than three minutes into the contest. On the play Viljami  Juusola carried the puck deep on the right wing before pushing it back to Tuukka Tieksola at the right dot. He found Petteri Puhakka on the back door for a shot just inside the near post before Mattias Sholl (Fairbanks Ice Dogs) could go post to post. With just under two minutes left in the first, NAHL went two me down giving Karpat a 5 on 3 power play. Karpat took advantage just 22 seconds into the two-man advantage. Aku Raty took the puck behind the net out the near side then found Jesse Moilanen all alone in the slot for a shot off Sholl’s left shoulder into the back of the net.

Karpat scored their second straight power play goal at the 14:15 mark of the second with Zdenek Sedlak banging in a rebound from just off the right post.

Karpat went back on the power play early in the third and pushed their lead to three. Moilanen got it started with a cross ice back door pass to Raty who put it past Sholl who found himself well out of his net. Juusola made it 5-1 after calling for the puck with a big beaver tail slap at the leftwing point. The defenseman wound up and blasted a slap shot that went off Tyler Love (Corpus Christi Icerays) and past a screened Sholl.

Karpat held a significant shots on goal advantage in the contest at 44-15 and were 3 for 8 on the power play while Team NAHL was 0 for 4.

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