Day Two of 2022 WJC Action

The second day of action at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship was played today in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta featuring another four matchups.

The first game scheduled gave us a Group A contest between Austria and Finland at Rogers Place.

This one was all Finland as they took the victory 7-1.

Finland jumped out to the early 1-0 lead when Ville Koivunen scored 3:29 into the game from Brad Lambert and Samuel Helenius. With 18:02 gone by in the first, Helenius would add his own with a helper from Koivunen.

Things were manageable for Austria by the end of the first period with the Finns only up by a score of 2-0.

But the Finns would keep adding on little by little. At the 4:11 mark of the second period, Kasper Simontaival scored from Joel Maatta and Karri Aho to make it 3-0.

Austria would get their chance to get on the board on the power play following Simontaival’s goal.

Immediately after the goal was scored, Maatta and Austria’s Marco Kasper were sent off for matching roughing minors. About a minute into the four-on-four, Finland’s Helenius was called for a hold to put Austria on the 4-on-3 man advantage beginning at 5:17.

Just 22 seconds into the 4-on-3, Martin Urbanek broke Finland’s shutout when he scored from Luca Auer and Lucas Thaler. It was now 3-1 Finland.

But that was where Austria’s comeback ended.

The Finns got that goal back when Kalle Vaisanen scored from Aho and Sami Paivarinta at the 6:34 mark of the second to make it 4-1.

Finland would add three more in the third beginning when Koivunen scored his second from Lambert and Aleksi Heimosalmi 8:40 into the final frame to make it 5-1.

At 10:25 gone by, Topi Niemela scored from Maata and Petteri Nurmi to make it 6-1.

Lambert added one more of his own at 14:13 unassisted to cap things off at 7-1.

In goal for Austria, Sebastian Wraneschitz was bombarded and largely held his own despite what the score showed, making 41 saves on 48 Finnish shots. Meanwhile, Finland’s Juha Jatkola got very little work, facing just nine Austrian shots and making eight saves.

Clearly the rink was very lopsided in favor of the Finns in terms of shots.

Finland will get a little stiffer test in their next game when they face Czechia on December 29. Things will also get tougher for Austria as they face the Canadians tomorrow.

Next we move to Group B and the WP Centrium in Red Deer where Russia was looking to get things in order against Switzerland.

This game was a little closer with the Russians coming away with the 4-2 win.

The majority of the scoring came in the first period, beginning 7:21 in when Danila Yurov scored for the Russians from Nikita Chibrikov.

A flurry of goals were added towards the end of the period when Dmitri Zlodeyev scored at the 15:42 mark for Russia from Ivan Didkovsky and then Pavel Tyutnev scored at 17:39 of the first. Tyutnev got assists from Yegor Savikov and Yurov.

The Swiss got on the board just prior to the end of the first when Attilio Biasca scored from Dario Sidler and Joshua Fahrni to make it 3-1 before the first intermission.

As much activity as there was in the first period, the second featured very little. Only a Biasca tripping minor, called at the 4:14 mark made it to the scoresheet.

The third frame would see Russia pad out their lead when phenom Matvei Michkov scored at the 11:57 mark from Semyon Demidov and Marat Khusnutdinov to make it 4-1.

The Swiss would cut that lead in half when Fabian Ritzmann scored with 2:15 remaining in the game from Dario Allenspach and Maximilian Streule. Russian head coach Sergei Zubov used his coach’s challenge to ask for a review of the Swiss being offside prior to the goal.

Replay upheld the call on the ice of good goal and the Russians would finish the game on the penalty kill, receiving a delay of game for an unsuccessful challenge.

The Swiss would pull goaltender Kevin Pasche for a 6-on-4 with about a minute to go in regulation, but the Russians held on for the 4-2 win.

In goal, the Russians went back to Yegor Guskov, who played last night in relief. He made 16 saves on 18 Swiss shots against. For Switzerland, Pasche made 28 saves on 32 Russian shots against him in another pretty one-sided game shots-wise.

Shakir Mukhamadullin played 19:40 of total ice time in the game and was an even plus/minus.

Switzerland will next play against the United States on Wednesday while Russia’s next game comes on Thursday against Slovakia.

We then moved back to Edmonton for a game between the Germans and the Czechs in what would go down as a thriller with an overtime finish.

The Czechs were without some key injuries and defenseman Michal Hradek, who was suspended for a cross check in the game against Canada on Sunday. Germany was able to take advantage of this and orchestrated a bit of an upset by winning 2-1 in OT.

After a scoreless first period, the second saw Germany take the 1-0 lead early in the period when Alexander Blank scored 4:29 in. Maciej Rutkowski and Luca Munzenberger had the assists on the goal.

Then, as these games so often do, penalties reared their ugly head and would play a role in the Czechs coming back into the game.

At the 14:55 mark, Germany’s Justin Volek was called for tripping. This put Czechia on the power play. About 30 seconds into the man advantage for the Czechs, at the 15:28 mark of the second, Germany’s Adrian Klein and Czechia’s Tomas Chlubna were assessed matching minors for roughing. This would put the Czechs on a 4-on-3 power play for about 30 seconds, as noted.

It only took twenty of those seconds for the Czechs to convert.

At 15:49 gone by, Jan Mysak scored his first of the tournament, on the power play from David Spacek and Pavel Novak to tie the game up at one each.

And that was it for scoring in regulation.

When time ran out on the third period with no change in the score, we were off to OT.

This was over quickly. Just 1:20 into bonus hockey, Blank raced up the left-wing boards and scored on Czech goaltender Jan Bednar to give the Germans the 2-1 upset win. Arkadiusz Dziambor and Danjo Leonhardt had the assists.

This was considered an upset due to the top-heavy nature of Group A with the Finns and Canadians. Germany and Czechia will be fighting for the number three and four spots in the Group and this went a long way in deciding that at this point in the tournament.

German goalie Florian Bugl made an astounding 39 saves on 40 Czech shots against while Bednar (who went in place of Devils prospect Jakub Malek) made a still-impressive 30 saves on 32 German shots against.

The Czechs will now try to regroup against Finland on Wednesday while Germany will face the Canadians on Wednesday as well. Steep climbs for both Czechia and Germany, but, again, the nature of Group A in this year’s tournament.

And from there, we moved back to the Centrium in Red Deer and Group B action between Sweden and Slovakia.

This game gave us our first shutout of the tournament as Sweden’s Jesper Wallstedt took home the 3-0 win over the Slovaks.

The first goal of the game came for the Swedes on the power play. Just 6:08 into the game, Slovakia’s Jakub Demek was called for tripping which put the Swedes on the man advantage.

Less than twenty seconds into the power play, Theodor Niederbach scored from William Eklund and Helge Grans to make it 1-0.

Sweden would notch their second goal in the second period. At the 6:50 gone by mark of the second, Albert Sjoberg scored from Joel Nystrom to double up the Swedish lead at 2-0.

Sweden faced some adversity early in the third period when Simon Edvinsson was called for

tripping 41 seconds into the frame. They killed that one off and then Leo Loof was called for a game misconduct plus a five-minute major for an illegal check to the head and neck.

This penalty cost the Swedes Loof for the rest of the game (and possibly more) plus Sjoberg, who served the five-minute major. The Loof penalty occurred at the 7:31 mark of the third.

In the midst of killing off the Loof penalty, Sweden’s Elias Stenman shot the puck over the glass and was given a two-minute minor for delay of game. This gave Slovakia a two-man advantage for about a minute as the penalty occurred at 11:21 and the Loof major being served by Sjoberg was set to expire at 12:31.

Amazingly, although the Slovaks pulled goalitender Simon Latkoczy to be up three men for about ten seconds, they still could not solve Wallstedt.

Slovakia continued to pull Latkoczy but were unable to break through. Instead, the Swedes would notch their third of the night into the empty net when Daniel Ljungman scored from Stenman with 2:15 left in regulation to ice the game.

That gave us our final of 3-0 as Wallstedt was equal to all 48 Slovak shots he saw – no small feat, especially, since as pointed out by TSN color commentator Craig Button as simulcast on the NHL Network, he mostly spent the second half of the game mostly facing the Slovak power play.

Latkoczy stopped 24 of the 26 Swedish shots he saw. Sweden added a 27th shot with Ljungman’s empty netter at the end of the third – Ljungman’s second empty net goal of the tournament so far.

Alexander Holtz finished the game with an even plus/minus rating and six shots on goal in 15:21 of total ice time.

Sweden will play their next game on Wednesday against the USA while Slovakia will also play on Wednesday against Russia in their next game.

On tap for tomorrow, Tuesday, December 28, just two games: one from Group A and one from Group B. In the early game, the Americans will play Switzerland at the Red Deer Centrium in Group B. Later that evening, Canada will face Austria at Rogers Place in Edmonton in a Group A clash.

Until then, we will see you on Tuesday night for World Junior coverage. At the moment, the Devils’ game at Buffalo on Wednesday is still going on as scheduled and we will see you then as well.

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