Monday, May 20, 2024

Macklin Celebrini arrives in Canada as Germany defeats Finland on second day of World Juniors

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A busy second day of four games at the World Junior Championship was highlighted by Germany’s first upset of the tournament, a 4-3 win over Finland despite losing 40-24.

With Finland still to play Latvia and Sweden, there was a sudden risk that a New Year’s Eve matchup between Finland and Sweden could have a major impact on the tournament. It is increasingly likely that the Finns will finish fourth or fifth in Group A and have to face a tough matchup against Group B’s top seed in the quarter-finals or play a 9-10 deciding match.

Here’s a daily summary and highlights:

  • Slovakia started the day with a close scoreline 3-0 win over Switzerland after two empty nets in the final stages, improving their tournament record to 2-0-0-0. Flames first-round pick Samuel Honzek scored his second goal of the tournament and the only goal past the goalie, but was stopped by a short-handed penalty shot.
  • German goaltender Philipp Dietl was named Most Valuable Player, and Coyotes big man Sam Baugh was named Finland’s Most Valuable Player for his goal and assist.
  • The Norwegians held out until the second period against the Czechs before losing 8-1. Only two Czech first-round picks, Jiri Klić (BUF) and Eduardo Sale (SEA), both scored hat tricks.
  • Canada defeated Latvia 10-0 with a multi-point game by eight different players and a 22-save shutout from Matisse Rousseau.

Adam Gajan makes early claim for top goalkeeper award

Gajan was one of the talking points of the tournament a year ago. He became the national team’s third-stringer from the NAHL, then emerged as a starter and was drafted in the second round (almost 35th overall) by the Chicago Blackhawks. After returning from Halifax, he played well in six games with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers. This year, he might be the best goalie in the tournament. And he’s playing like that.

After holding off the Slovaks on Boxing Day in a 6-2 victory over their Czech rivals, they produced an excellent performance against a hard-charging Swiss team on Wednesday, with the Slovaks leading by more than two points. He made 36 saves and shutout the game. – vs. 1 (36-17). He made some big saves with his lateral movement (his athleticism is his calling card). He straightened his back and made a number of big high saves from his shoulders. He was tracking pucks and gulping down rebounds. He stopped for partial breaks several times. It was impressive. He made 63 saves on 65 shots (.969). He plans to attend the University of Minnesota Duluth next season and seems like the real deal. — Scott Wheeler

Historic upset of Finland by the Germans

Germany recorded its first victory over Finland at the World Juniors. This was due to both the strong play of the German team in the opening match and the flat performance of Finland’s top players. With a group of mostly undrafted players, the German squad competed hard and showed good pace. In particular, undrafted forwards Veit Oswald and Roman Köchter were key players for Germany in this victory, scoring goals and playing a lot of effective minutes.

Finland, on the other hand, did not put in much of an impressive effort. They started pressing and increased their shot total by the end of the game, but their top players hardly took any shots. Frankly, their top players may not be that good, they are in no particular order: forwards Kasper Haltunen (SJ), Jani Nijman (SEA), Leni Hamenaaho (VGK) ), Aleksanteri Kaskimäki (STL), Konsta Helenius (2024 draft), defensemen Kasper Kronunmi (NSH) and Artu Kalki (VGK). They are good players and have a promising future. In the case of someone like Helenius, it’s actually quite good. But they do, at least now, raise the question of whether they have that extra level of offensive power at the junior level to be able to score when the team needs them. So far, I haven’t seen a player who makes a real difference on this team. — Corey Pronman

The best Czech players contribute

After a quiet first match for the Czech Republic, one of last season’s top scorers in the competition, Jiri Klić (BUF), played against Norway and scored a hat-trick, one assist and eight shots on target. Several of Couric’s goals came from range and showcased his finest shooting. Couric is a versatile winger who is expected to be a consistent contributor after having a great season against men.

Even better for Czech fans was the performance of Seattle Kraken prospect Eduardo Sale. This season’s OHL sales were a disaster. But he has seven goals in 25 OHL games so far this season, including a hat trick on Wednesday. Sale displayed his usual excellent skills with strong skating and finishing, which helped earn him a first-round pick. Historically a reliable player for the Czech national team in international matches, how can he follow up on this performance against higher-ranked teams, as his consistency has been a big issue, especially recently? would be very interesting. It is worth noting that the Czech Republic has cut Saleh, who has had most of their historic success, from the line between Kulic and Matthias Sapovaliv (VGK). — Corey Pronman

It’s time for Macklin Celebrini to lead Team Canada

Throughout selection camp, pre-tournament and the first two games of the tournament, if there’s one constant in Canada’s lineup outside of the fourth line, it’s how remarkable Celebrini is. You can’t help but chase him, and he can’t help but find the puck and do something with it.

His skating on neutral ice and ability to penetrate through the middle are both unique on this team. With the puck in his hands, he doesn’t look like a 17-year-old who won’t turn 18 until summer — he looks confident and aggressive, like he wants to take it, not give it to him. . He found open ice in the puck and saw open ice with it. His tight skating on the turn makes him difficult to track and grab in the offensive zone.

But his ice time (so far) doesn’t reflect that. Although he played just 13 minutes and 19 seconds in the opening game (seventh among Canadian forwards), he still scored a goal, hitting the crossbar and leading the team in shots made with four. In the second game, he played a little more (13 minutes 34 seconds into the team he was 7th) and responded with 5 points in his game. Canada’s lineup lacks star power, and they will need to find a way to keep him on the ice more when the games matter. It’s whether you put him in the lineup or just play his line with him and Braden Jaeger. It featured Matthew Wood against Finland and Carson Rehkopf against Latvia).

I think he could really work with Jordan Dumais (who seemed to have good chemistry before the tournament) and Connor Geekie, and Fraser Minten on that line would be a natural fit lower down the roster. — Scott Wheeler

Thursday’s schedule is as follows:

  • USA vs. Switzerland, 11 a.m. ET
  • Sweden vs. Germany 1:30pm ET

(Photo by Macklin Celebrini: Bjorn Larsson Rosvall / TT News Agency / AFP via Getty Images)

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