Today’s World Junior Championship slate only featured two games: Austria versus Sweden in the Group B opener and a later Group A matchup between Slovakia and Germany.
But this is a Devils blog, so we only care about the game involving a Devils prospect, right?
That one would be Sweden-Austria. The Swedes jumped atop the Group B standings with a 4-0 win tonight.
The game got started with Austria’s Lukas Necesany taking a holding penalty at the 15:55 mark. The Swedes, as they would do most of the night, would capitalize on it. Noel Gunler scored with ten seconds to go on the two-minute minor to put Sweden up 1-0. He got assists from Albert Johansson and Simon Holmstrom.
This goal was reviewed to see if Gunler hit the post and the puck never actually crossed over the goal line. The video angle showed that it did and that would take us into the first intermission with the 1-0 score.
In the second, Austria’s Clemens Krainz took a hooking penalty 3:54 into the new frame. At the 4:36 mark, Theodor Niederbach made them pay for it. He scored from Victor Soderstrom and Lucas Raymond (who would leave the game later on after taking a nasty spill into the boards while trying to brace for impact with an Austrian player. The impact never came and he crashed into the boards and was helped up favoring his leg).
The Swedes would nail their third goal to the board when Gunler got his second of the night from Holmstrom and Gustav Berglund.
Sweden finished things off in the third period. This one featured the aforementioned Devils prospect, Alexander Holtz. It was one of only two even strength goals as the Swedish power play was working at about a 50-percent clip on the night (2-for-4 with the man advantage).
Raymond, before leaving with his injury, got the Swedes up 4-0 when he scored from Holtz and Albin Sundsvik. That gave us our final score.
Sweden was on fire, accruing 65 shots on Austrian goalie Sebastian Wraneschitz. Wraneschitz was equal to a still impressive 61 of them. Sweden’s Hugo Alnefelt, by contrast, saw only six shots all game, and got all of them. You can see how much the ice was tilted via that revalation.
Holtz ended the game with the assist for a point, eight of the Swede’s 65 shots on goal and a plus-1 rating all in 16:43 of ice time.
Next up, the Swedes will take on the Russians on December 30. Tomorrow will see the United States taking on the Czech Republic in a matchup of two Devils prospects (Patrick Moynihan [USA] and Jaromir Pytlik [Czech Republic]). Meanwhile, Canada (Dawson Mercer) will take on Switzerland and Austria will faceoff with Russia (Shakir Mukhamadullin and Arseni Gritsyuk). We will, of course, have recaps here for you later on in the night.
Enjoy Germany- Slovakia if you are watching tonight!