In the first day of action at the 2020 World Junior Championship the fans were treated to four highly competitive games which featured a pair of jaw-dropping goals for Canada and Sweden. Philadelphia Flyers’ fans saw a potential top-four blue liner post a pair of entertaining goals in what was ultimately a loss for Team Russia. For all the info on Flyers’ prospects and some players the Orange and Black might be selecting at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft let’s recap yesterday’s action.
Canada beats U.S.A. 6-4
In the biggest game from yesterday’s slate Team Canada outlasted Team U.S.A. in a back-and-forth tilt by a score of 6-4. Alexis Lafreniere is anticipated to go first overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and he proved it in yesterday’s win with a four-point performance. His game-winning goal off a takeaway from New York Rangers’ prospect K’Andre Miller regained Canada’s lead just seven seconds after Ottawa Senators’ prospect Shane Pinto tied the game with his second.
What a goal by Alexis Lafreniere to give Canada the lead pic.twitter.com/BixItWlgqH— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) December 26, 2019
Pinto opened the scoring and Los Angeles Kings’ prospect Arthur Kaliyev put Team U.S.A. up by a pair with 1:28 left in the opening frame. Canada entered the third up 3-2 thanks to tallies from Connor McMichael (Washington Capitals), Barrett Hayton’s (Arizona Coyotes) first of two on the day, and Nolan Foote (Tampa Bay Lightning). Hayton made it a 4-2 game with a little under ten minutes to play, but Nicholas Robertson (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Pinto scored twice in 3:57 to make it a 4-4 game with only 3:18 left before Lafreniere’s winner.
Both Cam York and Bobby Brink played for Team U.S.A. yesterday. York was used as the seventh d-man in the defeat and took a costly interference minor that set up Foote’s power play goal in the second period, as the blue liner saw just 2:24 of action in five shifts. As for Brink, he posted an assist and a shot on goal in 12:04 of ice time. His helper was the secondary assist on Pinto’s opening goal, as he tossed it back to Zac Jones (New York Rangers) who threw it on net for Pinto to redirect.
As for draft-eligible players who made an impact, Team Canada’s starting goalie Nico Daws stopped 28 of the 32 shots he faced in the win.
Czech Republic downs Russia 4-3
In another close game that should be of interest to Flyers’ fans, the Czech Republic edged out a 4-3 win over Team Russia despite a strong performance from defenseman Yegor Zamula. Zamula scored twice in 19:50 of work, as he danced around a defender and ripped one home through traffic before an extremely sassy celebration to make it a 2-1 game halfway through the first, and tied the game at three in the second period by jumping up on the rush to enjoy a clear path to the net before another cheeky celebration.
Several draft-eligible players showed up on the scoresheet in this contest. In Russia’s crease Yaroslav Askarov allowed four goals on 17 shots in the first two periods before Amir Miftakhov stopped all five shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. Czech Defenseman Simon Kubicek opened the scoring by converting on his only shot in 22:20 of action while forward Jan Mysak extended the lead with his lone goal on four shots in 16:32 ice time. Second year draft-eligible center Jan Sir provided the secondary helper on Jan Jenik’s (Arizona Coyotes) game-winner while also winning 14 of 20 from the dot in 18:24 of work.
Sweden beats Finland 3-2 in overtime
Adam Ginning and his Swedish teammates needed extra time to hand Team Finland a 3-2 loss as the captain of Team Sweden failed to produce a point, penalty minute, or shot on goal in 11:46 ice time.
In a game where Sweden erased deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 before winning it in overtime it was Vancouver Canucks’ 2019 pick Nils Hoglander who stole the show. He tied the game at one by doing his best Andrei Svechnikov (or Mike Legg) impression to tie the game a little over a minute into the second period.
Among the draft-eligible producers were Swedish 17-year-old winger Alexander Holtz, who potted the game-winner with just five seconds left in OT after his shot fluttered off Justus Annunen’s (Colorado Avalanche) glove and in for just the third Swedish shot to tickle the twine on their 48th attempt. 19-year-old Finnish forward Kristian Tanus scored on his only shot in the loss and had the secondary assist on the opening goal from winger Patrik Puistola (Carolina Hurricanes).
Switzerland hands Kazakhstan 5-3
In the lone game from yesterday that didn’t feature any Flyers’ prospects, Switzerland used a two-goal third period to pull out a win over Kazakhstan. Third year draft-eligible forward Matthew Verboon provided two goals and second year draft-eligible d-man David Aebischer (not that David Aebischer) provided two assists to help the Swiss to victory. Maxim Musorov, a forward who will be 19 in May, potted a pair of goals for Kazakhstan in the loss. Luca Hollenstein stopped 16 of 19 to best Vladislav Nurek, who denied 29 of 34, in a battle of draft-eligible netminders.
*All stats via IIHF.com