Day two of the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship was as entertaining of an affair as the opening festivities were on Monday, with a couple of decisive wins, an overtime nail-biter, and one of the biggest upsets in recent tournament history.
Here’s what went down:
Switzerland 4, the Czech Republic 3 (OT)
Draft-eligible prospect Nico Hischier has been garnering some buzz over the past couple of months as a potential first overall pick in 2017, and on Tuesday afternoon he showed a glimpse of why that is.
The 17 year-old was dynamic in his team’s win over the Czech Republic, scoring a goal and two assists in a hefty 21:03 of ice time. It was his breakaway tally in overtime that sealed the victory.
The Czechs were competitive for the whole game, including erasing a two-goal deficit with just 16 seconds remaining. While they didn’t get the win, they nevertheless salvaged a point by getting into overtime. Ottawa Senators 2nd rounder Filip Chlapik had two goals.
Russia 9, Latvia 1
After falling to Canada 5-3 in their tournament opener yesterday the Russians enacted some measure of revenge on Tuesday against a hapless Latvian club.
The diminutive-yet-exciting Kirill Kaprizov led the way offensively with a hat trick and a whopping five points in total, while Mikhail Vorobyov and Alexander Polunin each had four points of their own.
"We felt more comfortable today, and once the goals started to come it was fun," Kaprizov said. "Today, it all started to come together for our line. We had a bit of luck and were moving the puck well."
Latvia, meanwhile, remains winless, and things aren’t going to get any easier from here: their next game comes against Canada on Thursday.
Denmark 3, Finland 2
Last year saw Denmark win their first-ever game at the World Juniors, snapping a 15-game losing streak. That same underdog magic continued today as they pulled off a stunning 3-2 upset over the defending champions, Finland.
Goaltender Kasper Krog played a game that he’ll remember for the rest of his life, stopping 34 of 36 shots. He was the necessary hero, as his team was badly out-shot by a margin of 36-10. Joachim Blichfeld had the eventual winner in the second period.
"It’s incredible to get a win in my first World Junior game, but the most important thing is that we get the three points," said Krog. "That’s what counts."
The Finns, despite being the better team in terms of scoring chances, are now in serious trouble. They’ll need to create a drastic turnaround in their next two games if they hope to just advance to the elimination rounds, to say nothing of defending last year’s gold medal.
Canada 5, Slovakia 1
44-6. A number differential that you’d normally only see in a mismatched high school football game (or any NFL team versus the Cleveland Browns) was the shot advantage in Canada’s dominant 5-0 win over Slovakia.
Defender Thomas Chabot and Jeremy Lauzon each had a goal and assist, but it was a thorough shellacking, as even Canada’s 4th line controlled puck possession against any defense that the Slovaks could muster. They advance their record to 2-0.
Slovakian netminder Adam Huska had one of the busiest nights of his young hockey career, spending all 60 minutes of the game under siege. The New York Rangers draft pick was actually quite stellar in net, keeping the score from spiraling into much uglier territory. His teammates now owe him a nice dinner.
What’s Up Next:
The schedule for December 28th is as follows:
- Sweden versus Switzerland at 4:00 PM
- United States versus Slovakia at 6:30 PM