Wednesday was a relatively busy day for Leafs prospects, as 3/4 players participated in the action with their respective teams. Yet again, Carl Grundstrom had a fantastic game for Sweden, contributing two primary assists in Sweden’s 4-2 win over Switzerland. Joseph Woll took to the net for the USA in their game against Slovakia, stopping 18/20 shots in a 5-2 victory. Jeremy Bracco did not have a fantastic game for the Americans today, but saw a promotion to the USA’s second line, playing with captain Luke Kunin and Jordan Greenway.
SWEDEN VS. SWITZERLAND
Here are the highlights from this afternoon’s game:
Grundstrom had a wonderful game for Sweden, once again. Tallying 2 assists in the game, Grundstrom is now currently tied for the team’s lead in points. He saw a promotion to Sweden’s top line midway through the game, as per Corey Pronman:
Grundstrom also lead all Swedish forwards in TOI today, playing a total of 19:58. As a comparison, Joel Eriksson Ek was second amongst Swedish forwards in TOI during this game, clocking in at 17:08.
Grundstrom’s offensive ability continues to astound me. His stellar neutral zone play allows him to successfully lead many breakouts, and his puck skills help him win frequent one-on-one battles. His style of play perfect combines skill, finesse and “grit” (for lack of a better term). Grundstrom has easily been my favourite Toronto prospect to watch in this tournament so far, and I’m excited to see how his offensive abilities will fare against a team with a tighter defense.
USA VS. SLOVAKIA
Here are the highlights from the USA’s 5-2 win over Slovakia:
Jeremy Bracco had a relatively uneventful game for the USA, not contributing to any American goals. Bracco did see a promotion to the USA’s top line today, though, but not with much success. Bracco had 3 shots on goal, and continued to see time on the USA’s power play.
Joseph Woll had a fairly good game, as well. Woll faced 20 Slovakian shots, stopping 18 and tallying a 0.900 save percentage. Woll was certainly not to blame for the first Slovakian goal, as the Slovak player was left completely uncovered on his right side during the American penalty kill. The second goal was a different story. Woll went down too early, and couldn’t quite reach the puck. I would have liked to have seen Woll stop that shot, but ultimately his team prevailed, so I can’t complain too much.
I decided to turn to twitter to produce a more in-depth look at Woll’s performance today. Here is a gif of a quick save by Woll in the first period:
Good things about this save include Woll’s transitions on the play; he shifts well and follows the puck, ensuring he would have the net covered in case of any rebounds. Bad things about this save include Woll’s rebound control; Woll should have gloved the puck off of the original shot, but instead, let out a juicy rebound right in front of his net.
Here’s another save by Woll later in the game:
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Woll is solid and relentless, and that was a very good sequence of saves. He slides way out of position in pure desperation, but he did not get an adequate chance to regroup and reposition himself into the net.
DAY 4 PREVIEW
Day 4 will be a fairly busy day for Leafs prospects, as the USA, Sweden and Latvia will all take to the ice in their respective games. First, the USA will face Russia at 3:30 EST in Toronto. Russia, coming off of a 9-1 win against Latvia, will have a chance to redeem themselves after a loss to Canada in their tournament opener. Sweden will take on Finland at 5:30 EST in Montreal. Finland lost a 3-2 game to Denmark earlier on Tuesday, and will surely be looking to bounce back. Finally, Latvia will take on Canada at 8:00 EST in Toronto. Canada is coming off of a fairly dominant, 5-0 win against Slovakia, and Latvia will likely struggle against the tough, Canadian team.
MORE WJC PROSPECT UPDATES