A look at the second day of the 2018 World Junior Championship.
CANADA SHUTS SLOVAKIA DOWN
After a one-for-three performance in the opening game of the tournament against Finland, the power play came to life Wednesday night for Canada, rolling along at 50 percent as they downed the Slovaks 6-0 to start with a perfect 2-0 record through the start of the round robin.
In what looked as though it could be a romp early after Sam Steel (ANA) scored little more than two minutes into the opening frame, Canada was unable to add to their lead for the remainder of the first period as Slovakian goaltender David Hrenak stopped all but one of the 13 shots he faced. But in the second period, Canada was able to put the Slovaks on the ropes, forcing Marek Korencik into two penalties, both of which resulted in power play markers — Jordan Kyrou (STL) netted the first 1:24 into the frame, Taylor Raddysh (TBL) nabbed the second — that bookended Jonah Gadjovich’s (VAN) first of two goals in the outing. In the third, Maxime Comtois (ANA) and Gadjovich extended the lead to six.
Despite the six-goal defeat, however, the performance by Hrenak was extremely commendable. The Slovakian netminder was peppered throughout the outing, facing 52 shots and turning aside a whopping 46 pucks regardless of the loss. In the Canadian goal, Carter Hart got the night off after starting in the tournament opener, which resulted in Colton Point getting the nod. Point, however, faced less than half the shots Hrenak did, turning aside 20 pucks to earn himself the shutout.
Kyrou led the way for the Canadian offense, ending the night with one goal and three points, while three other skaters — Gadjovich, Steel and Cale Makar (COL) — had multi-point nights. The three-point game propelled Kyrou into the tournament scoring lead with four points.
SWISS HANG ON TO DEFEAT BELARUS
Throughout the entirety of last year’s World Juniors, Switzerland failed to win a game in regulation, instead picking up their pair of victories by way of overtime and a shootout. This time around, however, Switzerland started strong, winning its opening game in regulation with a 3-2 defeat of Belarus.
The back-and-forth game saw the two teams trade shots, chances and goals, with Swiss center Nicolas Muller opening the scoring as the result of a friendly bounce only for Belarus’ Maxim Sushko (PHI) to bring the game level late in the first. A scoreless second gave way to a three-goal third period in which Belarus took its first and only lead of the game on a power play marker by Viktor Bovbel, only for Valentin Nussbaumer and potential 2018 first-round pick Philipp Kurashev to score goals three minutes apart midway through the frame to give Switzerland the lead. Goaltender Philip Wuthrich closed the door from there on out to give the Swiss the victory.
With the loss, Belarus falls to 0-2 in the tournament and face concerns of dropping back out of the top division once again. Belarus were relegated following the 2016 World Juniors only to win their way back in by topping Division 1A in last year’s competition.
1. Jordan Kyrou (CAN): One goal and one assist with the power play made for a three-point night.
2. Colton Point (CAN): Made 20 saves to shutout the Slovaks.
3. Philip Wuthrich (SUI): Stopped 27 of 29 shots in win over Belarus.
— Shayne Pasquino (@shaynepasquino) December 28, 2017
Thursday, Dec. 28
Denmark vs. Finland, 12 p.m. EST
Switzerland vs. Russia, 2 p.m. EST
Czech Republic vs. Sweden, 4 p.m. EST
Slovakia vs. United States, 8 p.m. EST
Friday, Dec. 29
Russia vs. Belarus, 12 p.m. EST
United States vs. Canada, 3 p.m. EST