After a disappointing second day of the 2022 World Juniors for our Minnesota Wild prospects — featuring a disconnected Canadian defense featuring Carson Lambos and just no points for the 2022 first-rounder Liam Ohgren — the third day was a little bit of a treat. While no one made any game look easy, there were at least goals and points to talk about.
So how did they do on the third day of this Under-20 tournament?
David Spacek, Finland vs. Czechia
In the early afternoon game on Thursday, Spacek lined up on the Czechia blue line to face a decent-but-not-great Finland team and defend attackers like Joakim Kemell, Brad Lambert, and other top-rated young players on this top-heavy Scandinavian team. He once again paired up with Stanislav Svozil on the second pairing, but he ended up finishing with 22:44 TOI which was the fourth-most between both rosters.
Spacek is still pointless in the tournament but he managed to get two shots on net on Thursday and earned a plus-minus of zero in this eventual Finland victory after it had to be taken to a shootout. A tight game, where every little movement on the ice mattered and Spacek payed it calm and cool.
Servac Petrovsky, Slovakia vs. Canada
Out favorite little youngster after opening the tournament with a two-point performance against Czechia, Slovakia’s Petrovsky had a tough task ahead of him facing the hometown Team Canada. Let’s just cut to the score line — a very typical World Juniors score, if I do say so myself — as Canada earned an 11-1 victory over Slovakia. Ah,
You would expect a miserable stat line for any player on that Slovakian team, but Petrovsky has come out of that beating fairly unscathed. He didn’t earn any points — the lone goal was a gutsy depth tally — but in 16:27 TOI, the 17-year-old center was able to get four shots on goal (leading his team) and was just a minus-1 on the night. Not terrible at all for a brutal dominant performance from Canada. His team might not make it out of the group stage, but he’s been a joy to watch.
Ryan O’Rourke, Slovakia vs. Canada
After Carson Lambos kind of shit the bed against Latvia, he earned himself some time off the bench and was not listed in the lineup, meaning that Ryan O’Rourke was the lone Canadian Wild prospect in this 11-1 win. But for what a showing it was by the top guys, O’Rourke kind of hid away and was a passenger on the offense.
He finished a plus-2 and played barely any ice-time with 11:34 TOI. Just 17 shifts. Damn. There is just nothing really to say about these two guys who are supposed to be the better side of the Minnesota prospect pool. It is of course just two games and a very small sample of what they can do — and hell, it’s in the middle of the summer where they usually rest, recover, and prepare for playing hockey instead of actually doing it.
Brock Faber, Switzerland vs. United States
The highlight of Day 3 was certainly the American captain Brock Faber. The other Wild prospect Jack Peart was scratched for this one, but it wasn’t so much as a performance thing, but the coaches certainly just wanting some rotation. There weren’t any noticeable mess-ups from Peart earlier in the tournament.
The Wild defenseman prospect and University of Minnesota captain quickly killed an awkward stalemate in the second period with a snipe from the point. It wasn’t anything significant — he took the pass standing still, took a stride and a half closer to the net to unleash a snappy wrister from distance — but it’s still nice to see the Minnesota lads get on the board.
He followed that up with getting an assist on Carter Mazur’s goal just minutes after that, contributing to two American goals for the eventual 7-1 win over Switzerland.
Overall, Faber had an outstanding game. Just patrolling the blue line, getting nasty along the boards to keep the Swiss offense at bay, and was meaningful in all three zones. A definite highlight of the tournament so far and we hope it can continue into the Gopher season (and then with the Wild when that season ends next spring, of course).
Next up, Liam Ohgren and Jesper Wallstedt will have some fun toying with an Austrian team and then Petrovsky gets his chance to put up some points against Latvia. Not the headline games, but could be at least productive.