The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship is underway in Edmonton and every single day of the group stage there is a Minnesota Wild prospect playing. So we figured, let’s just try and summarize what these kids did in those individual games.
Starting with Day 1 and some surprising breakout performances came out of it.
David Spacek, Czechia vs. Slovakia
Despite playing over 21 minutes in the tournament opener, Wild 2022 fifth-rounder and Czech defenseman David Spacek was not very noticeable. He appeared to be an active enough blueliner — getting his name called out by the play-by-play broadcasters as frequent as it takes to make someone recognize his name from now on — but just nothing substantial. But that’s all you can really ask for as someone that doesn’t have a crazy amount of offensive weapons on his team in front of him, but won’t take the responsibility to create scoring chances all upon himself.
Spacek had a safe game next to solid Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Stanislav Svozil, controlling play enough to help his team finish with a 52(!)-29 advantage in shots on goal. Just a very complete outing from the 19-year-old.
Servac Petrovsky, Czechia vs. Slovakia
If Petrovsky continues playing like he did in the first game of the tournament on Tuesday, he might just end up being at the top of everyone’s ranked prospect list. The Slovakian center was instantly visible any time he stepped on the ice — making plays, being involved deep into the Czechia zone, teaming up with his linemates extremely well. It was a performance that certainly makes us all more keen to keep an eye on him as he returns to junior hockey in the fall.
All of that work was swiftly rewarded, as the 17-year-old — oh yeah, he’s still only 17 and was one of the youngest players in the 2022 NHL Draft, where the Wild selected him in the damn sixth round — scored the first goal of the World Juniors on an incredible effort, fighting off some Czech defenders.
SERVAC PETROVSKY! first goal of the tournament baby. pic.twitter.com/LqwW4TIahu— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) August 9, 2022
He also added an assist later in the game, finishing the game with two points.
As neutral fans started to tune in to the first game of hockey in this weird season, Petrovsky was just so exciting to watch and personally, I was suddenly turned into a significant fan within minutes. Unfortunately, we might not get the same level of performance in his next game, as Slovakia takes on Canada on Thursday.
Jack Peart, United States vs. Germany
The United States started their title defense with a little bit of a lay-up game against Germany during the first day of the tournament. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about — we want to know how our precious prospects performed, and well, Jack Peart was certainly active.
Peart earned a single assist in this game on the Americans’ second goal of the game, coming off the stick of Logan Cooley.
2022 3rd overall pick, Logan Cooley puts the USA up by two! #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/TCGp1cluUz— TSN (@TSN_Sports) August 10, 2022
It wasn’t a mind-blowing set-up or anything, but Peart calmly skated to the German blue line, left it for Matthew Coronato to grab and dish to Cooley. Calm and collected.
Other than that, it was quiet on the score sheet for Peart but he was still able to show off his dynamic skating at times and take away any offensive pressure the opponent gave his team. Just steady.
Brock Faber, United States vs. Germany
Faber — the captain of this whole thing — was on the top pairing for the United States with fellow top prospect Luke Hughes and did not look out of sorts whatsoever. In typical Faber fashion, he didn’t have any points on the board, but he was pivotal to setting up scoring chances and being that penultimate line of defense against the other team.
If shot assists were recorded, Faber would probably be one of the team leaders, and if tertiary assists were recorded as well, he would at least get some on the board. It’s not the most sexy of performances; not dazzling the crowd and making everyone else envious of the Wild prospect pool, but Faber is just sort of that agile defender that can play in all situations no matter what. Maybe he won’t do anything Orr-like and skate end-to-end, but he is perfectly shaped to be in that underrated top-four defenseman mold that every good team needs.
The action continues on Wednesday with Jesper Wallstedt and Liam Ohgren taking on Switzerland, and Ryan O’Rourke and Carson Lambos facing Latvia. Potential to blow off the doors there.