World Junior Championship Day One: Sweden Rolls Austria, Czechia Stuns Canada

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World Junior Championship Day One: Sweden Rolls Austria, Czechia Stuns Canada

Chicago Blackhawks

Monday was the first day of games that count in the World Junior Championship. The Blackhawks had five prospects in action on the first day of the tournament, so we had something to watch even with the NHL club being off for a third straight day.

Sweden 11 — Austria 0

Yeah, this one was pretty bad. It was only 2-0 after the first period, but the Swedes blew it wide open with a six-goal second period. They finished things off with three in the third.

Sweden’s captain, Victor Stjernborg, a Blackhawks’ pick in the fourth round in 2021, had one assist and one two of his four faceoff opportunities in the game. The big producers for Sweden were Isak Rosen (Buffalo) and Filip Bystedt (San Jose), who had two goals and one assist each.

Czechia 5 — Canada 2

So, here’s the problem: Canada went full showboat early, and forgot about the whole winning the game part of the transaction. Both Adam Fantilli and Connor Bedard attempted a “Michigan” goal in the first period; neither was successful. Colton Dach almost scored Canada’s first goal on a nice rush but was denied.

Benjamin Gaudreau got the start in net for Canada and wasn’t very good. The skaters in front of him weren’t very disciplined, either. Canada was down 2-1 after the first period. Czechia extended the lead to 3-1 early in the second before Bedard got a breakaway and ripped home what felt like a big goal at the time. Kevin Korchinski had a takeaway that led to the goal and picked up an assist.

Unfortunately, the wheels came off quickly after the Bedard goal. Zach Dean got a match penalty for a hit to the head four minutes into the second period and Czechia scored twice on the five-minute power play. Canada made a change in net after the fifth goal, but the damage was done. Canada did everything they could to generate offense in the third period but couldn’t get a single tally.

It’s worth noting that Tomas Suchanek, who started in net for Czechia, is an undrafted 19-year-old playing for Tri-City in the WHL.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab