When the United States named Blackhawks prospect and Notre Dame forward Landon Slaggert an alternate captain for this summer’s World Junior Championship, it was partly because of his experience. Slaggert was on the US’s gold medal-winning team in the last WJC. But his play was also going to be an important part of the American’s success.
In the first game of the tournament, Slaggert contributed a goal and an assist. He continued his strong play in the second game, and stepped up at a critical time for the US with a stretch of important moments that blew the game wide open.
The US and Swiss were tied with doughnuts on the scoreboard after 20 minutes. The game was physical, and it looked like the US wasn’t ready for the hitting and heavy play Switzerland brought to the rink on Thursday night.
Carter Mazur got the US on the board early in the second period but Switzerland answered less than three minutes later. There were moments when it looked like Switzerland was the faster, more hungry team.
But then in a span of almost six minutes, a 1-1 game turned into a 4-1 lead for the United States. And Slaggert was a huge part of all three goals.
Brock Faber scored the second goal of the night for the US. Slaggert wasn’t credited with an assist, but as you can see below his screen in front of the net was huge. His line elevated its game and started matching the physical play from the Swiss and looked like the strongest line on the ice.
Less than two minutes after the Faber goal, Slaggert was battling in front of the net again. The puck found him, and he turned and provided it to a wide open Mazur who scored his second of the night. Slaggert picked up the primary helper which you can see below.
Less than four minutes after the Mazuer goal, two Blackhawks prospects hooked up on the fourth goal of the night for the US. Wyatt Kaiser ripped a shot from the point that was redirected by Slaggert, who was — you guessed it — parked in front of the net.
Slaggert’s line with Mazur and Thomas Bordeleau had seven points in the second period and the game was completely blown open. When the dust settled after 40 minutes, the United States held a 5-1 lead.
Yeah, we know. We haven’t mentioned Dominic James yet. Well, while he didn’t factor in the scoring barrage in the second period, he won 7 of 11 faceoffs in the first 40 minutes of the game.
Slaggert got the interview seat during the second intermission for the US.
Bordeleau scored a sixth goal for the US just inside of two minutes into the third period and some of the wind came out of the arena in Edmonton.
The Swiss were looking up at a five-goal deficit and the physical play that had the Americans on their heels in the first period had been met and exceeded since the middle of the second period. Whatever the coaches and/or players said early in the second period to change the momentum worked, because the US flipped the switch and didn’t look back.
Riley Duran put the final nail in the coffin for the Swiss, scoring the seventh and final goals for the US.
Mazur was named the most outstanding player of the match for the US.
Slaggert didn’t see as much ice time as you might expect, but the damage was done in the second period. He finished the night with one goal and one assist.
James won 12 of 17 faceoffs and was credited with two shots on net in a very good night. He skated 14:01 in the game.
And Kaiser skated 14:39 and picked up the primary helper on Slaggert’s goal.