A lot of good things happened for some of the Blues' top prospects today.
Russia won the Gold medal at the World Juniors by beating Canada 5-3. The Canadians went into the third period with a 3-0 lead, and surrendered five unanswered goals to Russia in the final frame. Vladimir Tarasenko captained the Russian squad in the WJC, and scored the game-tying goal tonight before getting the primary assist on the game-winning goal.
Tarasenko finished the tournament with a 4-7-11 scoring line (plus-8, 0 PM, 1 PPG, 2 GWG) in seven games, but was left off the All-Tournament Team.
Earlier in the day, Sebastian Wännström tallied an assist on the first goal of the game for Sweden, but it was not enough as the Swedes dropped the Bronze medal game to Team USA by a 4-2 score. Wännström finished the tournament with a 2-3-5 scoring line (plus-1, 2 PM, 0 PPG, 2 GWG) in six games.
Meanwhile, down on the farm... the Peoria Rivermen claimed first place in the AHL West Division, and the Western Conference, by outscoring the San Antonio Rampage 7-4 at Carver Arena in Peoria.
The Rampage twice took a two-goal lead over the Rivermen with goals in quick succession on rookie Jake Allen, 57 seconds apart in the first period for a 2-0 lead, and then 1:36 apart in the second period to give the Rampage a 4-2 lead before the Rivermen came storming back with five unanswered tallies.
Just over a minute after San Antonio took their second two-goal lead of the night, AHL contracted player Derek Nesbitt brought the Rivermen back to life with his second goal of the game and 11th of the season. Nesbitt brought the hats down from the stands with a power-play goal at 15:45 of the second to send the game into the third knotted at 4.
Prospects Tyler Shattock and Stefan Della Rovere sandwiched third-period tallies around Nesbitt's fourth goal of the game and team-leading 13th of the season (in just 21 games played since coming up from the ECHL Gwinnett (GA) Gladiators) for the final margin of victory.
Allen raised his record to 14-3-0 in his rookie season, and maintained a GAA under two (1.74) and a save percentage of better than 94% (94.7) despite allowing four goals on 28 shots.
If the AHL Playoffs were to commence today, Peoria would host the Oklahoma City Barons in the first round. The upcoming week may be a small taste of that for both clubs, as the Rivermen will play their next four games against the new Edmonton Oilers' farm club. The Rivs will fly to Oklahoma City for a two-game set with the Barons on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 7 and 8, before returning home to host OKC in back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 13 and 14. The Barons will, however, play an intervening game against Lake Erie on Sunday, Jan. 9, before heading up to Peoria.