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2019 World Juniors Day 1 Recap: Czechs win in Overtime, Canada disfigures Denmark, USA comes back from 1-0, and Finland spends half the game penalty killing

The Czechs played a tight one against Switzerland, the USA makes their third period count, Finland watches the game from the box, and Denmark ends up as a grisly example.

Canada v Denmark - 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

Game 1: Czechs take it to Overtime where a weird floater finishes the Swiss. 2-1

The Czechs and the Swiss are two teams that play fundamentally ridiculous hockey. One side plays balls-out, no half-measures cocaine and octane flowing kind of hockey, and the other is no-frills, fundamentals only kind of hockey that requires a good command of system rather than individual brilliance, though some does exist on Switzerland’s roster. What resulted?

A kinda slow, but ultimately fast and kinda fun game where both sides’ stars got a chance to do all sorts of crazy stuff for their national team.

Game Notes:

  • International Dostal (in which Czech Republic’s starting goaltender, Lukas Dostal, becomes inexplicably and impossibly terrible at goaltending) stayed home today and man wasn’t that a sight. Regular Dostal was pretty slick, in spite of the goal against. He stopped 26 of 27.
  • Nando Eggenberger was Switzerland’s best player and it’s honestly incredible to me that he never got drafted. He’s been tearing up life with the Oshawa Generals and actually stole the first line spot from Studnicka! And he has such a cool name! He, Leuenberger, and Kurashev were practically dragging the rest of the team to overtime.
  • Martin Kaut, Martin Necas, and Filip Zadina are probably going to be NHL monsters once they finish their development.
  • Hollenstein absolutely deserved the player of the game for Switzerland. In spite of the loss, he had the Czech’s first line carving up his fellow Eisgenossen and he held strong and it took 3-on-3 and a weird shot from the point to get him to surrender the game-winner.
  • Bruins Prospect Update: Jakub Lauko was ON THE ICE for the game winner! He also got an assist on it! In general he had a good start to his tournament on the Czech third line, but struggled to get more than a few low-danger chances. Daniel Bukac meanwhile played 3rd pairing minutes and was otherwise fairly inoffensive.

Game 2: USA spends much of it’s opening game being kind of sloppy and bad and it didn’t matter because they won anyway 2-1 over Slovakia.

Oh look, the United States used their first 40 minutes to dominate the shots on goal section of the scoresheet, take maybe three half-decent shots all game, have an absolutely dismal power play that nearly gave up a shorthanded goal at least once...and then let it all come together in the third and win anyway.

It’s like the Bruins never left, only this time it’s about the team that bares the flag of which flies over my head.

So yeah. Kind of a sloppy game, but the States managed to pull it together in the third. They won’t have that much work against Khazakhstan...Probably.

Game Notes:

  • Jack Hughes had a slightly slow start, but the second he was on his game, he was on. Getting Mikey Andersen that goal was just the cherry on top of a night where he could’ve had something like three. But alas...
  • The Hughes factor was important to the United States in more ways than one; Until the US scored, it seemed like Slovakia was content weathering the storm and just playing the body over and over and forcing the US to make whatever shot they could, take advantage of America’s sluggish play, let goaltender Sam Hlavaj snap up plenty of low-danger chances and let the skaters just kinda bully the US into submission. Of course, once that dam broke, it broke hard and the Slovaks were on their heels.
  • But hey, huge ups to the Slovakian team; They showed up ready to go, they showed up hungry to play, even if they got steamrolled shot-wise, and Hlavaj was near-lights out. They’ll make a lot of teams nervous while they’re in the prelims.
  • Penalty Shots at the World Juniors apparently aren’t worth much as neither side was able to get a goal out of the ones they had. This would become an obnoxious trend for the night.
  • Bruins Prospect Update: Keyser did okay! Clocking in with a .928 SV% and saving 13 of 14. The goal he let up was pretty gross, but it was the result of a truly putrid sequence, so I can’t fault him entirely for a game that, had everyone else on the USA side showed up at the same time he did? He’d have probably gotten a shut-out. He definitely got a better look later in the night by stoning Andrej Kukuca in the 3rd with a very aggressive move. He was barely in the blue paint by the time he got down to making his pad save.

Public Execution: Canada sentences Denmark to a gruesome end to the tune of 14-0.

Jesus Christ.

Notes from the onlooking crowd chanting “STRING ‘EM UP!”:

  • This was not a game. This was a bloodletting, and this went from funny, to pitiable, to kind of frightening. After goal 10 Canada stopped trying. They still kept going in. The pain never ceased.
  • Credit where Credit is due...Mads Soegaard was not great and the team around him wasn’t better than him, but he never broke. Somehow he didn’t break mentally, but Canada finally ran out of things to break and ended up causing him some kind of damage that required William Rorth being called upon in the third period. And I am running on this theory because A) His catching arm got caught and overextended, and B) I can’t imagine the kind of cruel incompetence that finally made Coach Eller say “Hey, y’know? This just isn’t working. Time for a change.” after giving up ten goals.
  • Tonight was all about Max Comtois and Morgan Frost who had hat-tricks and were generally unstoppable. As was everyone else on Canada.
  • Canada’s the team to beat. Any analyst who doubted them should get slapped.
  • Mckenzie Entwhistle isn’t a real name and I’m not going to be told otherwise.
  • Bruins Prospect Update: As it turns out, scoring 14 goals meant Jack Studnicka did get to be on the scoresheet! He had a goal and an assist on the final goal.

Game 4: Finland can’t get out of their own way, and Sweden cruises to a 2-1 win.

Area for improvement for Finland’s tournament: Discipline.

It started tight as Sweden rolled over the Finns while they countered with solid defense and structure. And then they got penalized...and then Erik Brannstrom reminded the Finns that they needed to keep their eye on the prize in the most direct possible way. They couldn’t capitalize on their 2nd and 3rd periods (especially regarding their penalties), and fell to the Swedes.

Game Notes:

  • Erik Brannstrom is a force, my friends. Be wary of that young man when he ends up in Vegas grey. He was all over the dang place on Sweden’s power play.
  • Finland’s discipline was disastrous last night and it cost them directly in an important 3 points. While their first period wasn’t anything to write home about, they did pick it up on the few instances they weren’t on the PK in the 2nd and 3rd, and the goal finland scored was pretty slick...It was just way, way too late to matter. Even if you’re under the IIHF’s borderline obsessive rule enforcement, Leijonat played carelessly and it was a huge part of why they lost.
  • Sweden by contrast only had three penalties all night and relied more on their big first period and also their lethal power play to get through it. They hung on towards the end, but again...time was their friend tonight.
  • Bruins Prospect Update: Urho Vaakanainen was named Alternate Captain for the Finns! He also played (or was it least listed as) 2nd pairing and had no points. Though given the way the Finns were playing? He ended up with over 23 minutes of ice-time. Not bad for his first time in awhile that he skated a whole hockey game that counted for something.

Today’s Games:

Russia vs. Denmark - 4pm EST

Bruins Prospects in this game: Pavel Shen (RUS)

Slovakia vs. Sweden - 6:30pm EST

Switzerland vs. Canada - 8pm EST

Bruins Prospects in this game: Jack Studnicka (CAN)

Finland vs. Kazakhstan - 10:30pm EST

Bruins Prospects in this game: Urho Vaakanainen (FIN)

Game to Watch: If the finns feel particularly unhappy about how their game against Sweden went and would like to express it in the form of score-murder, watch the FIN-KAZ game. If you’re a morbid sunovagun who wants to see Danish people probably start bursting into frustrated tears, watch the RUS-DEN game.