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World Juniors Day 3 Recap: Slovakia stuns USA

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Everyone does what’s expected of them...except one team who had ONE JOB.

Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images

Game 1: Finland walks all over Denmark and wins 4-1

Finland stumbled at the opening gate with having to play Canada in game one of the tournament, and sought to remind people why they’re considered a favorite by absolutely shelling Denmark’s goaltender, Kasper Krog, to the tune of 62 shots on goal. Denmark responded with 7 shots on goal. Seven.

It was kinda lopsided, is what I’m saying.

A Few Thoughts and Bruins Prospect Update:

  1. Jesus Christ, Denmark. Let your goaltender live for a little while!
  2. Finland looked a lot better than they did against Canada. Granted, I think anyone would’ve looked this good with the lackadaisical effort Denmark put up, but Finland’s structure with pressure in front of another goaltender was much better than it looked previously.
  3. Bruins Prospect Update: Urho Vaakanainen played 14 minutes and unsurprisingly played fine in front of a Denmark completely disinterested in causing any trouble. Joona Koppanen, a player I completely forgot to add as a prospect on Finland for Boston and I sincerely apologize for that...scored the opening goal for Finland! Kinda hard to move a 6’5 body like that when you’re a teenager, huh.

Game 2: Russia and Switzerland play it tight until they don’t, Russia wins 5-2.

This game had all the makings of a classic spoiler and for awhile it really looked like it was going to be. Russia was playing like dirt, Switzerland was taking advantage and looking strong for stretches...and then the third happened and they pissed all that goodwill away. An own goal, and two solid russian shifts doomed Die Eisgenossen to a loss.

A Few Thoughts:

  1. Russia’s Klim Kostin was considered a serious reach last year at the draft, but was also considered the best overall skater from Europe. In this game? He absolutely looked like the best skater from Europe.
  2. Switzerland’s net-front defense came to haunt them in a big way. An own-goal like that is embarrassing.
  3. This is the Russia people were expecting and in some ways got against the Czechs, but with their defense a lot more buttoned down. Watch out for these guys.

Game 3: Sweden takes care of business against the Czechs and win 3-1

The Czechs might be fast, but their defense is absolutely their achilles’ heel this tournament. The Swedes? The Swedes can exploit that.

And exploit they did. Over and over and over again. That said? Skarek for the Czechs was very good for long stretches, and made Sweden earn those three goals.

A Few Thoughts and Bruins Prospect Update:

  1. I’ll bet you money the Coyotes are so garbage this year because they want Rasmus Dahlin. This game was a tour de force in why you want him on your blueline.
  2. The Czechs do things fast. Fast play, Fast scoring, and that Zadina kid could really be something in the future. He’s currently ranked 4th at hockeyprospect.com.
  3. Bruins Prospect Update: Oskar Steen played 13 minutes and had two or three golden chances in the second and third where he could’ve added to Sweden’s scoresheet. He played very well today.

Game 4: Slovakia overcomes the odds and beats a lazy Team USA

Never let it be said that scrappiness can’t be a major factor. Overconfidence can also be one too.

In this case, Slovakia was scrappy and never gave up on things, USA was overconfident and played like it. They let Slovakia get ahead of them and had to drift their way into a tie, then a lead, and then their listless defense led them to lose that all over again.

A Few Thoughts and Bruins Prospect Update:

  1. This was a trap game. USA still took the bait, and now they have to go to the Bills field in near 15 degree weather to play Canada. They’d better be ready for this.
  2. USA’s defense on that final goal was just putrid. Simply unacceptable for a team that is so strong otherwise.
  3. I’ll give all the credit in the world to Slovakia. The world doesn’t think much of them at the moment, and they’ve been struggling mightily in international competition. This was their super bowl moment and they absolutely earned every second of it. Durny, their goaltender, played like a champion all night, finishing with a .955 SV%
  4. Bruins Prospect Update: Trent Frederic played only 10 minutes. Ryan Lindgren didn’t have the best game of his life, as he was responsible as a defender for at least one goal going against the US. Jeremy Swayman has yet to play.
  5. This was cool. Great team moment from the Slovaks (skip to about 1:30-1:35):

Today’s Games:

Russia takes on Belarus at Noon EST.

Canada and The United States will play outdoors at Orchard Park, with puckdrop at 3pm EST.