The preliminary round of the IIHF World Hockey Championship is set to wrap up over the next couple of days in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany and there’s been no shortage of excitement provided by a group of former Halifax Mooseheads players for their various countries.
Nathan MacKinnon has been one of the best players in the tournament following a disappointing season with the Colorado Avalanche. MacKinnon’s team leading 11 points (five goals – six assists) has Canada sitting at the top of Group B with a 5-0-1-0 record. The Cole Harbour native has played on the top line for the team coached by Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper and has electrified fans with his speed and skills which included a hat trick against Slovenia. Canada finishes the preliminary round with a game versus Finland before moving onto the Quarter-Finals.
Denmark has struggled against some of the stronger teams but the catalyst to their offense is without a doubt Nikolaj Ehlers. The speedy 21-year-old has a team-best four points and has helped the Danes to a record of two wins and four losses. Denmark has a -11 goal differential yet Ehlers has managed to maintain a +2 rating.
The Czech Republic features two of the Mooseheads best European Import players of all-time in Jakub Voracek and Petr Vrana. The Philadelphia Flyers star Voracek, has one goal and five assists while serving as the Captain for the 5-1 Czechs who have one game remaining against Switzerland before the Quarter-Finals. The 32-year-old Vrana has chipped in with one goal and one assist. The former Mooseheads Captain and draft pick of the New Jersey Devils now plays for Sparta Prague in the Czech league.
The host Germans have a record of three wins and three losses and feature big Konrad Abeltshauser on defence. The Mooseheads Memorial Cup Champion recently captured a second straight DEL title with EHC Red Bull Munich. Konrad has yet to find the scoresheet with Germany but is playing significant minutes for his country. Germany wraps up the preliminary round against the surprising Latvians.
Forward Giulio Scandella who played in Halifax from 2000-2002 before suiting up for Andre Tourigny and the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies is representing Italy at the World Hockey Championships and playing on the top line. He has two points for the winless Italians. Scandella plays for Asiago Hockey of the Alps Hockey League where former Pittsburgh star goaltender Tom Barrasso is the Head Coach.