The World Junior Championship is in full swing and the round robin standings are beginning to take shape. Each team has played multiple games and trends are starting to emerge. With only two games and one Jets prospect playing on day three, we decided to wait until after day four to write our daily recap.
In case you missed the introduction to our series, there are three Jets prospects that are playing in this year’s tournament.
Day three was light with only two games on the schedule. It began with Russia defeating Czech Republic 2-1. It was a close game as both teams had plenty of shots and chances. Russia was able to score both of their goals while shorthanded and they are now poised to finish first or second in group A.
The only other game of the day featured Dylan Samberg and the USA against Kazakhstan. This game was not supposed to be close and the US showed why. They lit up Kazakhstan for eight goals and had a whopping 66 shots on net. Dylan Samberg had zero points but did have two shots. Although considering the USA had 66 shots, having two of them isn’t that impressive…
Samberg did make his presence known other ways as he had a big hit behind the net late in the first period.
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisNHL) December 29, 2018
The tournament was busy again yesterday as there were four games on the schedule including all three Jets prospects.
The day began with the least enticing of the four matchups as Switzerland and Denmark faced off. Switzerland cruised to a 4-0 victory and it appears that Denmark will be heading to the relegation series, likely against Kazakhstan.
The second game had Virtanen and Finland taking on Slovakia in an important matchup for the standings. With Sweden and USA already 2-0, Finland was hoping to keep pace and stay tied. On the other hand, Slovakia needed a victory if they wanted to finish in the top three in group B.
Finland took the Slovaks by storm and scored two goals in the first and second period before Slovakia was able to answer. In the end they cruised to a 5-1 victory. Virtanen had one goal, two shots, and was a +3 in 14:45. His goal was a nice one, as he took the cross-ice pass, pulled it to his backhand and flipped it past the netminder for the second Finnish goal of the game.
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisNHL) December 30, 2018
Next up was Canada and Czech Republic. Canada could guarantee a top two finish in group A with a victory. This was projected to be Canada’s toughest game yet, but they handled it with ease. They got off to another great start by scoring in the opening minutes of the game. Unfortunately they gave up the tying goal not even a minute later.
Canada composed themselves after that slip up and slowly scored goal after goal, eventually ending up as the 5-1 winners. It was a strong performance from team Canada after their game against Switzerland raised a few questions.
Canada is now set to take on Russia on New Year’s Eve with first place in group A on the line.
The World Junior’s can be crazy at times, and the craziness was on full display as the USA took on Sweden. Sweden played very well from the start and worked up a 4-0 lead midway through the third period. It appeared that they were going to close things out and cruise to an easy victory. Not so fast. The US came storming back in the final 11 minutes and scored four straight goals to tie the game. Ryan Poehling scored three goals in the span of seven minutes, including two goals in the final minute of the game. Despite the comeback and the momentum, the US was not able to find the back of the net in overtime and still lost the game.
As for the Jets players, Gustafsson finished with two assists, one shot, and a +2 rating in 17:00 while Dylan Samberg had two shots on goal and played 18:40.
There’s only two games on the schedule today and none of the Jets prospects are among them. Tomorrow’s games include all three players along with team Canada taking on Russia. It’s going to be a fun New Year’s Eve at the World Junior Championship.