Blake Wheeler scored a pair of goals as the U.S. overcame an early 2-0 deficit to defeat a feisty Finnish team 6-5 Wednesday at the world junior hockey championships.
Wheeler, who was still in high school when the Phoenix Coyotes picked him fifth overall in last summer’s draft, made a pretty play on his second goal to put the U.S. up 5-3 with just 42 seconds left in the second period.
The Plymouth, Minn., native took a pass from Bobby Ryan on his backhand, neatly pulled it to his forehand, then beat Finnish goaltender Karri Ramo.
Ryan had a power-play goal and two assists for the Americans, who improved their tournament record to 2-0.
Wayne Gretzky won a thriller in his return to the Coyotes’ bench, with Derek Morris’ goal during a two-man advantage igniting a four-goal rally early in the third period of Phoenix’s 5-4 victory over San Jose on Wednesday night.
Gretzky was back with the Coyotes after a 10-day leave of absence to be with his mother, who died of lung cancer on Dec. 19. After two slow periods, Phoenix provided a flurry of scores worthy of their coach, the NHL’s career scoring leader.
has reversal of fortune
Just when Turner Stevenson appeared to have turned the corner on his right hip pointer, he suffered another setback. Stevenson made a second trip yesterday to Baptist Hospital in Nashville to see orthopedic specialist Thomas Byrd.
According to Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock, the winger felt a stabbing pain in his hip while practicing with the Phantoms on Tuesday. He has been rehabbing his hip since Dec. 9 and has missed nine games, including last night’s contest against the Thrashers.
Canada held off Switzerland 4-3 in an ugly win at the world junior hockey championship Wednesday. The Canadians had a 4-1 lead at 13:39 of the second period, but got away from their strategy of pressuring with the forecheck and allowed the Swiss to creep back into the game.