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Recapping Day 4 of the 2020 World Junior Championship

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Can we get Cam York some ice time please?

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NHL: JUN 26 Philadelphia Flyers Development Camp Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There were only two games played at the 2020 World Junior Championship yesterday, but each contest was significant in deciding which teams would advance to the next stage. A critical win for Team U.S.A., another blowout for Team Finland, and a suspension to a Team Canada player topped the headlines from the Czech Republic, so let’s see how it all went down.

U.S.A. beats Russia to move atop Group B

In an important game for Group B positioning, Team U.S.A. beat Team Russia by a score of 3-1 yesterday to put themselves in a great spot to advance to the knockout stage. Arthur Kaliyev (Los Angeles Kings) had two goals on three shots for U.S.A. while the 13th overall pick from earlier this year Spencer Knight (Florida Panthers) denied 25 of Russia’s 26 shots on net.

It was a pretty quiet game for all three of the Philadelphia Flyers’ prospects involved. For Team U.S.A. both Bobby Brink and Cam York saw little ice time with no point production. Brink failed to record a shot on goal in 11:14 of work, which was the fifth-lowest ice time of any skater on the team. He now has a power-play goal on three shots and an assist with a minus-1 rating in three games. As for York he provided a shot on goal in the first period, but continued his string of low ice time totals as his 8:33 of action yesterday was the third-lowest total on the team. The 2019 first-round pick now has one shot on goal and two penalty minutes in three tilts.

For Russia Yegor Zamula had one shot and a minus-2 rating in 21:36 of ice time, the second highest for any Russian skater behind Alexander Romanov’s (Montreal Canadiens) 22:11 on the blue line. Despite being held pointless yesterday, Zamula is still tied for second on Team Russia in scoring and leads the team’s d-men with two goals and one assist for three points in three games. He’s also played 19:50 or more in each tilt so far and is getting some recognition.

After a goalless opening frame, it was a tripping infraction from draft-eligible Ilya Kruglov that allowed Team U.S.A. to pull out in front late in the second period. Anaheim Ducks’ prospect Trevor Zegras walked through the left circle in Russia’s zone on the power play before delivering a no-look cross-ice pass right in Kaliyev’s wheelhouse for a one-timer that netminder Amir Miftakhov couldn’t stop with 3:19 left in the second. On the ensuing faceoff, future New York Islander Oliver Wahlstrom pounced on a loose puck in the neutral zone and worked his way into a reasonable position to shoot before gliding a pass across the slot to Nicholas Robertson (Toronto Maple Leafs), who had his shot flutter in off of New Jersey Devils’ prospect Danil Misyul and in for a pair of American goals in a span of six seconds. Kaliyev’s second of the game and third of the tournament came off another pass from Zegras, who is now tied for the tournament lead with seven points thanks to his tournament-leading seven assists (all of which are primary), just 1:20 into the third forced Miftakhov to exit with 15 stops on 18 attempts.

The win yesterday gives the United States a high likelihood of advancing to the knockout stage, as they sit alone atop Group B with a 2-0-0-1 (regulation wins-overtime wins-overtime losses-regulation losses. Regulation win is three points, overtime win is two, overtime loss is one, and regulation loss is zero.) record and plus-three goal differential. Their final contest is today against the Czech Republic, who are second in Group B with a record of 1-0-0-1 and an even goal differential. Things aren’t as rosy for Team Russia, as they sit dead last in the group at 1-0-0-2 for three points. However a win tomorrow against Team Germany will greatly increase their chances of advancing.

Finland provides second straight blowout win over Kazakhstan

After they smacked Team Slovakia around for an 8-1 win on Saturday, Team Finland decided to take it easy on Kazakhstan and only handed them a 7-1 defeat. Andrei Buyalski had Team Kazakhstan’s lone goal and poor Roman Kalmykov saw seven goals go by him on 34 shots against.

Carolina Hurricanes’ prospect Patrik Puistola continued his stellar 2020 World Junior Championship by recording two goals on four shots with an assist for a three-point night. He’s tied with Zegras for a 2020 World Junior Championship high of seven points at the moment with four goals and three assists. Four other Finns notched multi-point games as Matias Maccelli (Arizona Coyotes) and third year draft-eligible Kristian Tanus (who is tied for the second-most points in the tournament with six) each provided a goal and an assist in the victory, while Ville Heinola (Winnipeg Jets’ first-round pick earlier this year) and Joonas Oden accrued a pair of apples.

At one point in time this was a 1-1 contest, as Puistola’s first of the day, which came on the power play a second over six minutes into the affair, was answered by Buyalski’s laser from the right faceoff dot. Tanus regained the lead for Finland 4:18 later on a 3-on-2 rush before they went on to score two in the second and three more in the third. Kari Piiroinen allowed just one goal against on 22 shots against in his second appearance of the tournament.

With a spot in the knockout stage locked up, Team Finland will look to finish at the top of Group A with a win over Switzerland tomorrow. They currently have a tournament-high seven points and plus-12 goal differential with a 2-0-1-0 record. As for Team Kazakhstan they look to leave the 2020 World Junior Championship with at least one point after starting 0-0-0-3 with a contest later today against Sweden.

Joe Veleno suspended

In other news yesterday Canadian forward Joe Veleno, who the Detroit Red Wings took 30th overall in 2018, is suspended for the team’s game against Germany later today. He head-butted (technically he did, but...come on) Team Russia’s Misyul during Team Canada’s 6-0 loss on Saturday.

Veleno has one assist and four PIMs with a plus-one rating in Canada’s first two games. The lone player to ever be granted exceptional status in the QMJHL also has five goals and seven assists in his first 29 games of pro experience with the AHL’s Grand Rapid Griffins.