Day 4 of the World Junior Hockey Championship was jam-packed with action, as yet again, 3 Leafs prospects took to the ice in 3 separate games. Joseph Woll did not start in net for the Americans, and despite a solid performance, Jeremy Bracco did not put up any points today against Russia. Carl Grundstrom had another fantastic performance for Sweden today, tallying one assist and prolonging a 3-game point streak. Martins Dzierkals netted a beautiful breakaway goal for Latvia, scoring one of two Latvian goals in a 10-2 loss against Canada.
RUSSIA VS. USA
As always, here are the highlights from the USA’s 3-2 victory over Russia from earlier this afternoon:
Jeremy Bracco had a fairly good game for the United States today. Though he had several chances, Bracco wasn’t able to translate any into points. Here’s a two-on-one rush against Russia from the second period – watch as Bracco gets absolutely robbed by Russian goaltender, Ilya Samsonov:
Bracco had several other good shifts today as well. He has been creating multiple chances for himself and his linemates, but unfortunately, with little success. With only 1 point through 3 games, Bracco has been struggling to produce tangible offense since the USA’s first game against Latvia. His play has been satisfactory, even excellent at times, but he just hasn’t been able to translate chances into goals.
I’ve enjoyed watching Bracco play this year, and it’s unfortunate that he isn’t producing at an eye-catching rate.
Joseph Woll did not see the start for Team USA today. The Americans have been alternating in goal from the beginning of the tournament, and assuming that they haven’t selected Tyler Parsons as their starting goaltender, Woll should likely see the start for the US on Saturday.
FINLAND VS. SWEDEN
Here are the highlights from the game:
I know I gushed about Carl Grundstrom yesterday, but he never fails to impress me. He had another good game against Finland today, tallying one assist in a close, 3-2 Sweden victory. Grundstrom has a point in every WJC game he has played in so far this year, and continues to impress at the U20 level.
Grundstrom saw a drop in ice time today, though. The past few games, Grundstrom has been topping the list of Swedish forwards in regards to TOI, but today, he only played 16:44 (third among Swedish forwards).
Here’s another look at Grundstrom’s goal from today:
LATVIA VS. CANADA
Here are the highlights from Canada’s 10-2 win over Latvia:
Dzierkals played a fantastic game for Latvia tonight, scoring a beautiful, short-handed goal on a breakaway. Here’s another look at Dzierkals’ goal:
Dzierkals picks up the puck, carries it up the ice while fighting off a Canadian defender, and makes no mistake in burying the puck. The goal was absolutely flawless.
Dzierkals lead all Latvian forwards in ice time tonight as well, playing 19:09 through 3 periods.
It should probably be mentioned that Dzierkals also took 2 minor penalties tonight in what seemed to be a frustrating game for the Latvians.
Dzierkals was recognized as Latvia’s Player of the Game today, and deservedly so, after such a great performance against the Canadians.
DAY 5 PREVIEW
Dzierkals and the Latvians are back in action tomorrow, facing Slovakia in their final round-robin game of the tournament. This game is of great significance, as it will likely be the deciding factor in which team advances to the quarter-finals and which team will play in the relegation round (assuming that Russia beats Slovakia on Saturday, which is more than likely). Latvia and Slovakia, neither of whom have won a game yet, will battle it out tomorrow at 7:30 EST in Toronto.
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