The Philadelphia Flyers had four prospects play at the 2020 World Junior Championship, but only two of the players are leaving the Czech Republic with a medal. Despite the fact Cam York and Bobby Brink left the WJC without anything to show for it following a tough 1-0 loss to Team Finland, both Yegor Zamula and Adam Ginning helped their nations to a top-three finish. Let’s see how they did it.
Canada takes home Gold while Zamula takes home Silver
Down 3-1 halfway through the third period to the same team that embarrassed them 6-0 in the group stage, Team Canada stormed back to beat Team Russia 4-3 to take home the gold at this year’s World Junior Championship. Right-handed blue liner Calen Addison (Pittsburgh Penguins) provided three assists in 16:20 of work, while both Connor McMichael (Washington Capitals) and Alexis Lafreniere (anticipated first overall pick in 2020 NHL Entry Draft) chipped in a pair of points. St. Louis Blues’ prospect Joel Hofer kept 35 of Russia’s 38 shots on goal out of the cage.
Zamula did all he could do to bring home Gold for his country, but the Canadians were just too much. In what became an expected workload throughout the tournament, Zamula saw a team-high 24:27 of ice time in defeat, which is 2:45 more than anybody else on Team Russia. On top of that Zamula was able to drift a shot from the point through traffic that was redirected by Nikita Alexandrov (St. Louis Blues) past Hofer for the first goal of the game and managed to get three shots through on the day. After starting the tournament with a two-goal game, Zamula finished the WJC with a pair of goals and three assists for five points in seven games with 12 shots on goal and 20 minutes of ice time or more in six tilts.
After Zamula helped Alexandrov give Russia the lead, Buffalo Sabres’ prospect Dylan Cozens knotted the game at one on the man advantage less than 1:30 after the contest’s first goal before Grigori Denisenko (Florida Panthers) restored the lead a few minutes later. Undrafted 19-year-old center Maxim Sorkin lasered one past Hofer with 11:14 left in regulation to make it a two-goal game before McMichael and Barrett Hayton (Arizona Coyotes) tied the game within the next 2:35. With just a few seconds under four minutes to play, Akil Thomas’ (Los Angeles Kings) hustle turned a rather innocent play in the neutral zone into the tournament-winning goal for Team Canada. Despite a hooking infraction by Kevin Bahl (19 year-old blue liner traded to the New Jersey Devils in the Taylor Hall trade) with under three minutes to play to put Russia on one more power play, Canada held on for the win.
Hayton led Team Canada in scoring with six goals and six assists for 12 points in seven contests, which was good enough to finish second in scoring across the whole World Junior Championship. Lafreniere finished second on the team and fourth in the tournament with four goals and six apples in five tilts, while the tandem of Cozens and Addison weren’t too far behind with nine points each.
As for Team Russia, Denisenko led the team in scoring by lighting the lamp three times and assisting on six goals to finish sixth at the World Junior Championship in point production. Alexander Khovanov (Minnesota Wild) and Alexandrov each had eight points in seven games, while Columbus Blue Jackets’ prospect Dmitri Voronkov totaled seven points in seven appearances.
Ginning takes home bronze
Zamula isn’t the only Philadelphia Flyers’ prospect who left the 2020 World Junior Championship with a medal, as Ginning and Team Sweden beat Team Finland 3-2 to take home some hardware. Swede Samuel Fagemo (Los Angeles Kings) had a goal and an assist for two of his tournament-leading 13 points, while other Swedish point leaders Nils Hoglander (Vancouver Canucks) had an assist and Rasmus Sandin (Toronto Maple Leafs) had a power-play goal in the first period. Hugo Alnefelt (Tampa Bay Lightning) stopped 32 of 34 to help Sweden win Bronze, while Finland’s Justus Annunen (Colorado Avalanche) allowed a trio of goals on 26 attempts against.
Ginning finished the game with an assist in 16:38 ice time yesterday for Sweden in the win. His helper was a secondary assist, but he converted a brilliant stretch pass from Sweden’s own zone to a streaking Hoglander at center ice to set up a chance that resulted in a rebound for Fagemo’s game-tying goal halfway through the game. Ginning isn’t exactly an offensive dynamo, so a stat line of three assists and four shots on goal over seven games sounds about right.
Patrik Puistola (Carolina Hurricanes) opened the scoring for Finland by tapping in a Kim Nousiainen feed after the Los Angeles Kings’ prospect circled around the net and threw a spinning pass towards Puistola. After Sandin tied the game on a power-play goal a little over 12 minutes in, Matias Maccelli (Arizona Coyotes) intercepted an egregious Swedish pass at Sweden’s blue line and turned it into a goal seconds later to restore Finland’s lead with exactly one minute left in the first period. Fagemo’s tally tied the game at two halfway through the second period before undrafted 19-year-old Linus Oberg’s banked the game-winner in off Annunen’s skate from below the goal line with 6:41 left in the middle stanza.
Along with Hoglander, who finished third in the tournament with 11 points, and Sandin, who finished fifth with ten, Team Sweden also boasted New York Rangers’ 2018 first-round pick d-man Nils Lundkvist who finished 15th in scoring with a goal and seven apples. As for Finland draft-eligible 19-year-old center Kristian Tanus finished seventh in scoring with nine points in seven games while Puistola potted five goals to help him record eight points to place 12th in scoring.
With a 6-0 defeat to Team Germany yesterday, Team Kazakhstan has been relegated and won’t be in the running to win the 2021 World Junior Championship. After they failed to win a single one of their four group tournament games with a goal differential of minus-14, Kazakhstan faced off against Germany in a three-game series to see who would remain in the top division for the 2021 championship. Following a 4-0 shutout loss to open the series, Team Kazakhstan rattled off their first and only win in the Czech Republic with a 4-1 decision to stay alive before being blown out yesterday.
Kazakhstan’s leading scorer was Maxim Musorov, the only member of the team to finish in the top 30 for scoring at the 2020 World Junior Championship. Eligible to be taken again at June’s draft as a 19-year-old forward, Musorov finished 21st in scoring with four goals and two helpers for six points in seven contests. He has spent most of his regular season with Snezhnye Barys Astana in the MHL (a junior hockey league consisting of teams in Russia, Kazakhstan, and China) where he has ten goals and 23 points in 17 appearances. He’s also suited up for 12 contests with Barys Nur-Sultan in the KHL but has only recorded an assist.
Team Kazakhstan will be replaced by Team Austria in the top division at the 2021 World Junior Championship after Austria was promoted out of Division One’s Group A.