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Janmark and Klingberg Win Gold at IIHF World Championships

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The IIHF World Championships have come to a close, so how did the five Dallas Stars and their respective countries do?

Sweden v Switzerland - 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Gold Medal Game Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

The Dallas Stars had five players from the organization representing their three respective countries these past weeks at the IIHF World Championships. Radek Faksa represented the Czech Republic, Julius Honka and Miro Heiskanen were there for Finland, and then John Klingberg and Mattias Janmark played for Sweden.

All three of these countries made a finish within the top half of the tournament and all five of these players will now enter their offseason having represented their countries well —some slightly more than others — as the tournament came to a close with the Swedes taking home the gold.

Radek Faksa

USA v Czech Republic - 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Quarter Final Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

Faksa played in all eight games that the Czechs were a part of, mainly on the second and third lines with 17:14 minutes of ice time per game. He registered three assists with a +1 plus/minus. However, he wasn’t quite able to register a goal in the tournament with 14 shots on goal, but he was able to dish the puck out numerous times and help lead the Czechs to some upsets in the preliminary rounds.

The preliminary round ended with the Czechs in third place in preliminary round Group A with 15 points and a +12 goal differential, which was sixth best in the prelims. Unfortunately for Faksa and team Czech Republic, they were bounced out from the tournament 3-2 in game #58 against the US in the quarterfinals.


Julius Honka and Miro Heiskanen

Finland v Denmark - 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

A little insight here to what next year might bring for Dallas with the two young defensemen representing their native country of Finland in the World Championships.

Led by a top forward in points throughout the tournament (Sebastian Aho with 18 points), Julius Honka was able to stick to his role as a defender, while Finland let their forwards do most of the work when it came to scoring. Honka registered just one assist with a +2 plus/minus in eight games while being on the ice for 14:05 minutes per game.

On the other hand, Miro Heiskanen is looking more ready for the NHL by the second and got his fair share of reps in against NHL talent such as Connor McDavid of team Canada, and had a big impact in Finland’s 5-1 upset win. Heiskanen played the fourth most minutes on Finland’s roster in the tournament, while having registered two assists with a +7 plus/minus.

Heiskanen had probably the best save of the tournament, including saves by goaltenders, as he came out of nowhere to save a goal when McDavid had an empty net with Finland’s goaltender still on the far post. Heiskanen commented quite simply, “It was almost in the net but I hit the puck. It was a good save.” That stop, and saves like the one against the U.S’s Dylan Larkin are reasons why Heiskanen may be ready to make the jump up and now prove himself on the NHL stage.

Finland v United States - 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

Mikael Granlund, who plays for the Minnesota Wild and was the captain of the team, commented on Heiskanen’s play throughout the tournament, “I have seen him at the games here and nothing really surprises me about him. The way he skates, the way he handles the puck and sees the ice. He can play these games. He’s been really, really good this tournament. He’s got a great career ahead of him.”

Finland was looking like the best team in the tournament after the preliminary rounds. I only hesitate to say that because the defending champs for Sweden came out of the prelims with not only the most points, but an eye on the gold fiercer than most. I mean, who can blame them? Who doesn’t love going for back-to-back gold medals?

But Finland, on the other hand, came out of the prelims in first place of preliminary round Group B with 16 points and a tournament-best +27 goal differential. Yet heading into the quarterfinals, Switzerland would begin their upset run all the way to the gold medal game, as they knocked Finland out of the tournament 3-2. Still, Finland finished in fifth place at the World Championships in the final ranking, but not quite good enough for what looked like a primed team.


Mattias Janmark and John Klingberg

Sweden v Switzerland - 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Gold Medal Game Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

Oh, the Swedes. Not only was this team just plain fun to watch throughout the tournament, but Janmark and Klingberg were a great deal of fun as well, as they combined for 16 points.

Mattias Janmark had four goals on 23 shots and six assists with a +8 plus/minus on 17:08 minutes per game through 10 games. He was tied for ninth in tournament scoring.

Meanwhile, Klingberg registered one goal on 23 shots and five assists with a +6 plus/minus on a staggeringly high 24 minutes per game through 10 games of play.

Klingberg was a staple for Finland, and in the gold medal game there was rarely a time where he was off the ice. While Klingberg might not have been a Norris Trophy finalist in the NHL this year, this time he did come away with being named the top defenseman of the tournament.

Along with Finland, Sweden was a top team heading into the quarterfinals. Sweden finished the preliminary rounds with first place in preliminary round Group A and the most points out of any country at the tournament. The Swedes took down Latvia 3-2 in the quarterfinals and then demolished the USA team 6-0 in the semifinals on their way to the gold medal game against Switzerland.

Sweden took home the gold medal against Switzerland 3-2 in the final game after a shootout. The Swedish team was able to dominate puck possession and create many chances on offense, and at one point they were firing shots and generating opportunities for about four minutes. That is, up until the Switzerland defense had enough and the Swedes drew in a penalty and finally fired home a goal on the power play. Every time the Swiss scored, the Swedes had an answer back for them and ultimately the string of upsets on Switzerland’s behalf would come to a close. Yet, a historic run none the less for team Switzerland.