World Juniors Day 1: Canada Crushes Denmark, Sweden and Finland Duel, USA Fends Off Slovakia

Jerred Bapty
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@CaptainBapty

Thursday, December 27, 2018


VANCOUVER/VICTORIA, BC – Denmark had no chance. Canada absolutely obliterated the Danish squad 14-0 in Wednesday night’s kickoff of Canada’s quest to defend Gold on home soil.  

Philadelphia Flyers prospect Morgan Frost had 3 goals and 2 assists while captain Maxime Comtois became the 5thCanadian player to score 4 goals in a World Junior game. He joins Taylor Raddysh (2016), Brayden Schenn (2010), Simon Gagne (1999), and Mario Lemieux (1983). 

Cody Glass had 4 assists and Brett Leason had 2 goals and 2 assists, rounding out the list of players who had at least 4 points. Oilers prospect Evan Bouchard had 3. 

Goalie Michael DiPietro stopped all 12 Danish shots, including a stoic 3rdperiod penalty shot save. 

“I’ve never been a part of a game where I made as many saves as we had goals,” said DiPietro cheekily. 

Canada is right back at it Thursday night against Switzerland when Leafs’ goalie prospect Ian Scott will get the start. While some thought the round robin would be a time to evaluate Canada’s goalies, Head Coach Tim Hunter quashed that notion right away. 

“Mikey is our guy and he’s going to carry the load,” He said post-game Wednesday. So, Michael DiPietro is the number 1. 

Denmark has another tough test Thursday afternoon as they take on the well-rested Russians in their first game of the tournament. 

 Czech Republic Squeaks by Switzerland

Czech Defenceman David Kvasnicka was the overtime hero in a 2-1 win for the Czechs over Switzerland. Both regulation goals came in the 2nd, with the Swiss striking first before the Czechs tied the game just under 2 minutes later. 

The Swiss had 7 powerplays but only capitalized on 1. Czech Republic’s 5 penalites in the 2ndallowed the Swiss to rack up 14 shots after being outshot 16-4 in the 1st

The Czechs have the day off Thursday while the Swiss take on Canada. Swiss Head coach Christian Wohlwend, who made headlines after his comments on Canada at last year’s tournament, is much more optimistic this year. 

“Last year we had 14 under-agers,” He told reporters. “[The difference] in 12 months is huge. You can grow physically, you can grow tactically, everything… that’s why we are for sure more competitive.”

Slovakia Scares USA

The Slovaks certainly held their own in a 2-1 loss to the Americans. After a scoreless, and very even 1stperiod, Marek Korencik scored late in the 2ndfor Slovakia for a 1-0 lead going into the 3rd

The Americans came out charging and Captain Mikey Anderson quickly scoring the tying goal just over a minute into the frame. 

USA peppered the Slovak goalie Samuel Hlavaj with 20 shots in the 3rdand got the game-winning goal just under 6 minutes in to the period. 

The Slovaks were held to just 4 shots for a total of 13. Hlavaj made 39 saves in the loss. 

The Americans get the day off, while the Slovaks take on Sweden Thursday evening. 

The Sweden/Finland Rivalry continues

Arguably the closest and best game of the day, Sweden and Finland went head-to-head once again in a hard-fought 2-1 victory for the Swedes. 

Swedish start and Vegas Golden Knights prospect Erik Brannstrom scored both goals for his country, both of them also on the powerplay. Chicago Blackhawks prospect Adam Boqvist assisted on both goals. 

Finnish youngster Aarne Talvitie score Finland’s only goal in the 3rdperiod as the Finns managed 12 shots in the frame. Swedish goalie Samuel Ersson made an incredible pad save late in the game to officially dismantle the Finnish comeback. 

Finland took 7 penalties and allowed 2 powerplay goals. 

Sweden takes its 45thstraight win in group play and is set to take on the Slovaks, while Finland is up against Kazakhstan later Thursday night in their first game of Group play. 

 

Let me know what you think!!

Twitter: @Captainbapty

Email: jerred@barnburner.ca

Image: @IIHF