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World Junior Championships 3 Stars: Bruveris, Lysell, and Andrae Star On Day 4

It was a shorter day of action at the World Junior Championship with just two games. Tony Ferrari looked at three standout performances from Friday.
WJC 3 Stars

With just two games on the schedule for the fourth day at the World Junior Championship, it was a quiet Friday night in Edmonton. Sweden took an easy game against Austria while the Slovaks won in a shootout against Latvia in a game with quarterfinal implications.

Check out Steven Ellis's report from Rogers Place if you need a full recap. There were plenty of impressive performances throughout the day, but these three stood out among the rest:

First Star: G Bruno Bruveris, Latvia

It’s not often that a losing effort earns you the first star but the performance but the Latvian goaltender was the biggest reason that the game went to a shootout. He had 39 saves on 41 shots, including eight in overtime when his team couldn’t muster a single shot themselves. Bruveris isn’t the biggest goalie, standing just 6-feet tall, and his game isn’t built on incredible athleticism. The calmness of his movement in his crease is what stood out. Rarely allowing any second chance opportunities, Bruveris was a vacuum when it came to absorbing shots into his chest or covering the puck up before anyone could jump on the rebound.

In the second period, the Latvian netminder’s defense group was sometimes non-existent, allowing lanes to the net and playing soft coverage at best. The skill level of the Slovak squad was well ahead of Latvia’s, but Bruveris did everything in his power to keep the game close and calm throughout the contest. His overtime period was impressive, to say the least; with the extra room, Slovakia exploited the weak defense and dangled them consistently to get to the middle to generate high danger opportunities while the Slovak netminder had the period off, essentially never feeling danger. Bruveris may have lost, but he was the only reason it was close.

Second Star: W Fabian Lysell, Sweden

One of the most electric players on the Swedish roster when he's at his best, Fabian Lysell was involved all over the ice in this game. On top of scoring one of the tournament's nicest goals after showcasing unreal passing ability throughout the game, Lysell could have had two or three more goals and a bounce or two gone his way. The Boston Bruins' first-round pick was active and engaged in all three zones, showcasing a pressuring defensive game forcing turnovers and pestering opponents through the neutral and defensive zones.

Offensively, Lysell was attacking the net and trying to bury every loose puck that seemed available, putting it wide on a couple of occasions, high on another, and being robbed by the toe of the goalie’s skate on a couple of attempts as well. Lysell got on the scoresheet in the second period when he was working the half wall on the power play and threaded a pass to the back door for a tap-in for Isak Rosen. He used his eyes to manipulate the penalty killers, looking high towards the blueline, turning his whole body to face that direction, and then quickly zipping the pass to Rosen.

His standout moment though wasn't one of his incredible passes off a deke or one of the times when he effortlessly transitioned the puck up ice, it was his goal. Walking down to the goal line below the faceoff dot, Lysell attacked the net and roofed the puck from a nearly impossible angle into a tiny window by the netminder’s ear. When Lysell is on his game, he’s a true difference maker who can affect the game in all areas of the ice on every shift. This was one of those games.

Third Star: D Emil Andrae, Sweden

The Swedish captain has been a fairly good point producer from the back end in international play over the years and yesterday’s games were a prime example of why. He is such an effective passer and understands how to run a powerplay at a high level. The Philadelphia Flyers prospect has a big shot as well from the blueline. Scoring two goals, one on the power play, helped put the game out of reach as the Swedes dominated the game from start to finish. Andrae’s also helped limit the Austrians to no more than six shots in any period, with just 14 shots against as a team the entire game.

Andrae’s first goal came on an excellent play by Isak Rosen who forced an offensive zone turnover and then threaded a pass through traffic across the ice for Andrae to skate into. The captain collected the puck, dusted it off, and ripped a shot past the Austrian netminder. His ability to join the rush is such a valuable trait. His second goal came with the man advantage, a simple play as a whole. Andrae collected the pass at the top of the zone, bobbling it just a bit before corralling it and throwing a seeing eye wrister towards the net that found twine. 

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