ARTICLE AD BOX
Day 4 astatine nan 2024 World Junior Championship was highlighted by nan biggest crippled of nan tourney truthful far, arsenic Canada and Sweden faced disconnected atop Group A. Here are our takeaways and standouts aft different four-game slate.
- Slovakia improved to 3-0-0-0 pinch an 8-4 triumph complete Norway, mounting up a New Year’s Eve matchup against nan Americans for first spot successful Group B. Projected 2024 first-round prime Michael Brandsegg-Nygard had 3 points for Norway, scoring twice. Servac Petrovsky (MIN) and Dalibor Dvorsky (STL) each scored 2 of their ain and had four-point games for Slovakia.
- Finland hit Latvia 4-0 for their first triumph of nan tournament. In his first commencement of nan tournament, Noa Vali sounded a 23-save shutout for nan Finns. Through 3 games, Latvia has yet to people a extremity (they’ve been outscored 20-0).
- USA defeated Czechia successful a seven-round shootout by a last people of 4-3. Lightning first-round prime Isaac Howard scored nan first and past goals of nan game, winning it for USA successful nan shootout.
- Sweden blanked a disjointed Team Canada 2-0 connected goals from Noah Ostlund (BUF) and Tom Willander (VAN), and a 22-save shutout from Hugo Havelid.
This is 1 of nan champion Norweigan U20 teams successful modern times. They gave nan USA a mild scare a fewer days agone and person a mates of existent prospects connected their team. That includes draft-eligible defenseman Stian Solberg and re-entry halfway Petter Vesterheim, but it was nan play of draft-eligible winger Michael Brandsegg-Nygard coming that I wanted to highlight. On a Slovakia squad afloat of NHL draught picks including respective precocious ones, Brandsegg-Nygard showed he could skate pinch those players and create against their defense. He displayed very bully violative skills, bully gait and effort. His first extremity was a merchandise of his effort and skating to adjacent connected a puck and create a turnover. He looks for illustration a pro for those reasons mixed pinch really skilled he is and having a finishing touch. He could beryllium a top-20 prime successful nan upcoming draft, and I would not norm retired him being a first-half of nan first-round type. — Corey Pronman
Big boys show up for Finland
The Finns person 2 of nan bigger, heavier, stronger forwards successful this year’s tourney successful Sharks second-rounder Kasper Halttunen and Kraken second-rounder Jani Nyman. They request some to enforce themselves connected games and beryllium apical players. Nyman’s a returnee. Halttunen’s been a apical subordinate successful nan 2005 property group for years. But they only had a constituent apiece entering their 3rd game.
The Finns besides dropped some of their first 2 games of nan tournament, first to Canada and past successful an upset against nan Germans, truthful Friday’s crippled against Latvia took connected immoderate existent significance. Halttunen and Nyman delivered, intelligibly nan Finns’ 2 champion players. Halttunen was vulnerable connected nan powerfulness play, arsenic usual, pounding a one-timer that was tipped and scoring pinch his wrister from his saccharine spot astatine nan left-wing faceoff circle. He now has 2 goals and an assistance successful 3 games. And Nyman was ascendant astatine five-on-five, bullying his measurement to nan nett connected a fistful of occasions. He only vanished pinch 1 assistance successful nan game, but he had a extremity called backmost for goaltender interference connected a really bully attacking series to nan slot. Opposing defenders struggle to grip his blend of powerfulness and puck power (he’s sewage bully hands) astatine this level. — Scott Wheeler
Kasper Halttunen, nan @OHLHockey's powerfulness play goals leader, strikes connected nan man advantage for 🇫🇮! #WorldJuniors | @LondonKnights | #SJSharks pic.twitter.com/rhI7RHff3L
— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) December 29, 2023
Nazar statement stands retired for USA
The USA sewage pushed to a shootout coming by Czechia and you could prime isolated nan performances of a batch of their players successful specified a result. I thought nan statement of Frank Nazar (CHI) successful betwixt Isaac Howard (TBL) and Gavin Brindley (CBJ) had a very affirmative time though. Howard scored nan first extremity instantly successful nan crippled disconnected a provender from Nazar. Nazar and Brindley successful peculiar I thought played pinch a ton of gait and power astatine even-strength, kept their games elemental and were consistently putting unit connected nan Czechs. Neither are large players but nan measurement they play could construe to nan NHL. — Corey Pronman
Theo Lindstein becoming a bully communicative for Sweden
The spot of this Swedish squad was ever going to beryllium its bluish line. Even without returnees Jakob Noren and Calle Odelius, they had respective defencemen who could person been go-to guys for conscionable astir immoderate different team. Axel Sandin Pellikka (DET). Elias Salomonsson (WPG). Mattias Havelid (SJS). Tom Willander (VAN). But Lindstein (STL), who was added precocious owed to injuries, has been awesome for them alongside Willander. He assisted connected some of Sweden’s goals and now has a team-high 5 assists and a team-high plus-7 standing for nan tournament. Canada generated small against Sweden’s defence and Lindstein’s summation has made them 7 heavy connected nan backend. The Canadians person immoderate superior issues to activity retired pinch their roster building and deployment, but afloat marks to nan Swedes. They’re a morganatic golden badge contender this twelvemonth and they’re nan superpower pinch nan longest golden badge drought, having not won nan tourney successful a twelve years. It would beryllium awesome to spot them threat it connected location ice. — Scott Wheeler
Here’s nan schedule for Saturday:
- Switzerland vs. Norway, 11 a.m. ET
- Latvia vs. Germany, 1:30 p.m. ET
(Photo: Adam Ihse / TT / TT News Agency / AFP via Getty Images)
Get all-access to exclusive stories.
Subscribe to The Athletic for in-depth sum of your favourite players, teams, leagues and clubs. Try a week connected us.