World Juniors Update
After 4 days of games at the WJHC, the medal round picture is already starting to come into focus.
In Pool A, Finland leads, having played 3 games, winning over Switzerland and Germany, and an OT loss to the USA for 7 points. The Americans, having played only twice, sit second with 5 points, having laid a beating on Slovakia 6-1 in their last game. The Americans though had some key injuries going into game 2, and last game forwards Jason Zucker and Jerry D’Amigo got their bells rung. Jack Campbell continues to be solid in net though, and the rest of Team USA looks strong. With games against Germany and Switzerland remaining in their schedule, it appears that it will be smooth sailing for the US though. Expect them and Finland to finish 1-2 in the group. The Slovaks will have their work cut out for them, with 2 players suspended as a result of head-shots that occurred in the game against the USA.
In Pool B, any worries about Canada’s ability to score has disappeared. in their 3 games so far, Canada has outscored their 3 opponents 23-6, and are well on their way to a berth in the medal playdowns. Brayden Schenn, released from LA Kings to play in this tournament, has been nothing short of impressive, scoring 12 points in his 3 games to lead all scorers. His 4 goals against Norway ties a tournament record. In fact, he is 4 points ahead of teammates Ryan Ellis, and Canadians occupy 6 of the top 10 scoring positions. A huge hit that rocked Czech player Petr Senkerik landed key Canadian forward Zach Kassian a 2 game suspension, meaning he will miss another game. Also, Calvin de Haan was injured in the Czech game, but may be able to play Friday, during Canada’s biggest test against Sweden, currently in second place after 2 games. Canada did beat Sweden 4-1 in exhibition play, however things always change when there’s something of value on the line. In this case, it will likely be first place in Pool B up for grabs. Sweden will be without young star Gabriel Landeskog though due to an ankle sprain. Disappointed must be the Russians, beaten 6-3 by Canada and shutout by Sweden 2-0. They face a difficult task if they want to get near the medals.