Teams get ready for World Juniors

Ahead of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, the ten participating teams held camps and played 12 games in the host provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

18 December in Truro: Germany 5 – Slovakia 0
Simon Wolf stopped 33 shots to shut out, while Philipp Krening scored the winning goal with one goal and two assists. The Germans scored two goals in the first game and added two more in the second, delivering a perfect 5v5 on penalties. Meanwhile, three German goals came with the extra man and Veit Oswald had three assists.

19 December in Moncton: Canada 6 – Switzerland 0
The August gold medalists started the pre-season with a vengeance, firing 42 shots at Kevin Pasche and taking a 1-0 lead after just 1:41 through a goal from Joshua Roy. Captain Shane Wright had two goals and an assist and linemate Connor Bedard had three assists. Thomas Milic stopped 19 shots for the shutout.

19 December in Quispamsis: USA 5 – Finland 2
A disappointing 5th place finish a few months ago meant the Americans came to Canada’s East Coast with something to prove. They started well despite falling 5:44 behind against Finland through a goal by Jimi Suomi. Jackson Blake leveled the game late in the third and USA blew up the game with three unanswered goals midway through the third. Logan Cooley, Arizona’s 3rd overall pick in last year’s draft, finished the goal in the last minute.

20 December in Antigonian: Austria 4 – Germany 3 (OT)
Finn van Ee scored 1:50 in overtime to give the Austrians a stunning win over Germany. After more than a decade of absence, the Austrians are playing in the U20s for the third straight year, but they have a very unenviable record that they would like to end. In their U20 history, five appearances and 27 games – they have yet to win a game. That friendly went to OT as Germany mounted a magnificent challenge and scored two goals in the last 88 seconds to make it 3-3.

December 20 in Halifax: Czech Republic 6 – Latvia 3
Undrafted Gabriel Szturc of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets had two goals and one assist, including the game-winner midway through the third period. Both teams used two goalkeepers, Latvia’s Karlis Mezsargs being the most diligent, saving 17 of 20 shots in the first two periods. Gustavs Ozolins, who also played at World Juniors 2022, had a goal and an assist for the losers.

21 December in Moncton: USA 5 – Sweden 1
The Americans overran Sweden at the Avenir Center and opened a 1-1 game with the only three goals of the second period. The USA beat their opponents 34-16 and opened the scoring with a goal from Luke Hughes midway through the first half. Drafted 4th overall by New Jersey in 2021, Hughes is expected to be a key part of the team’s offense. Sweden’s only goal came from Fabian Lysell later in the half to level the game.

21 December in Moncton: Canada 6 – Slovakia 1
Canada dominated again, this time beating Slovakia 47-17, including 23 shots in a two-goal second period. Slovakia’s only goal was a Canada own goal early in the period that spoiled Benjamin Gaudreau’s shutout. Specials teams were significant in this result as Slovakia were 0-for-5 with the additional skater and Canada were 2-for-6. Six players scored for the winners.

22 December in Bouctouche: Germany 6 – Latvia 3
Latvia were the better side for much of the game, but Germany managed half a dozen goals from just 27 shots. Ryan Del Monte had two goals for the winner and Martins Lavins had two goals for Latvia, who went 7-0 on the power play. Lavins opened the scoring but Luca Hauf equalized shortly after and the Germans never looked back. Nikita Quapp, who is 0-0-3 in his U20 career, impressed in the winner’s goal.

December 22 in Halifax: Switzerland 4 – Czech Republic 2
Lorenzo Canonica scored early from second-man down to open the scoring for the Swiss, their first of three goals in the second that carried them to victory. It was the final vote for the Czech Republic, who finished with a win and two losses as they attempted to improve on fourth place from last year. Four players scored for Switzerland, the last from Brian Zanetti into the empty net.

December 23 in Halifax: Switzerland 4 – Sweden 3 (OT)
The Swiss completed a successful series of exhibitions thanks to a goal from Attilio Biasca with 4:12 in overtime. Even more impressively, they trailed Sweden 3-1 in the third period but recovered to level the game by two goals midway through the period. Biasca had three points in the game (2+1) at his ‘home ice’ in Halifax, where he normally plays for the Mooseheads, to give the Swiss a second straight win after a loss to Canada. The Swedes ended with a 0-2 record after winning bronze last August.

23 December in Truro: Slovakia 5 – Austria 1
Despite teams scoring late in the first round, 21 seconds apart, Slovakia pulled away with the only three points of the second to earn their second exhibition win against two losses. Simon Nemec had four assists for the winner while Servac Petrovsky scored twice. There were 17 minor penalties in the game, nine against Austria and ten in the second period alone.

December 23 in Halifax: Canada 5 – Finland 3
A repeat of the gold medal match in August was a game of excitement and intensity and for the first time fans got to see Connor Bedard at his best. He scored a go-ahead goal in the second, nearly a lacrosse goal in the third, and then wired his second goal of the game later in the period for the game-winner in an impressive performance. The hosts beat Finland 45-22 in a game that featured a goalless first half followed by five goals in the second. Niko Huuhtanen had a goal and an assist for the Finns.

Summary of the exhibition results

United States20103
Czech Republic118th7

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