On Sunday, were were treated with a full all-you-can-eat buffet of watching Minnesota Wild prospects play in the 2022 World Juniors for their respective countries. A total of six players within the Minnesota system were on the ice throughout the day. We won’t waste your time with some preamble with some flowery language about the future of this team, but let’s just get to the action and some impressions.
Servac Petrovsky, Finland vs. Slovakia
After putting on a very good performance in the opening game of the tournament, Petrovsky and Slovakia have been fairly quiet. Notching a couple points here and there, but nothing truly noteworthy to get our attention.
During Sunday afternoon’s bout against Finland — in what ended up being a 9-3 slaughter of a win for the Finnish — Petrovsky was able to play above his team’s talent level and made us all feel that we have a burgeoning draft day steal on our hands. He was taken at 185th overall, folks.
He scored the second Slovakian goal and gave hope for his team, as he cleared the opposing crease for just enough space to get the additional scoring chance and scored his second goal of the tournament and his third point.
Petrovsky would finish with just this one goal, but despite the overpowering Finland victory, he stayed a net-zero in plus-minus in 20:31 TOI. That is a lot of time out there for him to come away with just one of the nine Finnish goals to go in. That just shows the dire depth of this team.
With this loss in the final game of Slovakia’s group stage and having only secured two points in the stands after their lone win came in overtime, their tournament is done. Usually there are additional games for the worst teams in the groups, to determine what nation will be relegated to the second international division, but there is no relegation this year. Petrovsky finished with two goals and an assist, and a lot more fans, especially in Minnesota.
David Spacek, Czechia vs. Latvia
Spacek has had a decent tournament as Czechia’s fourth defenseman. Stapled next to Stanislav Svozil for the tournament, Spacek has just been there and not really notable. There is room to grow, but already at 19 years old and producing only in the QMJHL, he might just be a toolsy guy that scouts like to love. He’s shown flashes of his passing ability, and some defensive awareness, but just overall a big blog of meh coming from him.
During the game against Latvia on Sunday, he did manage to get four shots on goal, two penalty minutes, in 18:16 TOI. Things are happening for him, at least. Some events!
Brock Faber, United States vs. Sweden
Now we get into the meat of the weekend. As soon as we went through the entire schedule of the group stage, parsing out the games that featured Wild prospects and had enough oomf for us to tune in; this Sunday night matchup leaped off the calendar. Arguably the top-four Wild prospects of the eight that are in Edmonton are facing each other in a heated battle for finalizing the standings. It was a good game overall that saw the Americans wipe away Sweden’s historic winning streak with a 3-2 win.
Anyways, let’s get more specific. Brock Faber, our captain, in a pairing with Luke Hughes, basically took the entire burden of keeping this competitive. Both players played over 22 minutes, had to face the top-end of Sweden’s offense, and came away doing some offense of their own. Faber finished the game with four shots on goal and was a plus-one. Not the most dominating performance on the stat sheet, but Faber just looked in control for the majority of the game. No obvious mistakes, just extremely calm and cool and collected and all those good words you want for your top-four defenseman.
Jack Peart, United States vs. Sweden
Peart is a ball of joy to watch, but hasn’t really been able to let loose with so many high-end prospects above him on this roster. He had just 10:33 TOI and a whole row of zeroes for the rest of his stat sheet. Peart has had hints of overall success at this tournament, but, again, there are just others to play over him. This is just like a little season warm-up for him.
Liam Ohgren, United States vs. Sweden
Now to the other side of the Sunday headliner. For 2022 first-rounder Ohgren, this seemed to be one of the first larger tests for the winger that was originally not even on this roster a month ago. He has come in as a replacement and might have had his best performance of the tournament against the Americans.
There weren’t that many points to go around anyway, so Ohgren not getting any doesn’t really tell the whole story of his game. In previous matchups, it was sometimes hard to notice him and the Swedish top lines were able to outperform its depth, but Ohgren was just wonderful against the Americans. He played just over 11 minutes, but all of those minutes, he seemed to be doing something productive. Whether it was forechecking harder than anyone, taking the puck deep into the opposing zone and starting the cycle, he just already feels like an offensive Minnesota winger. He’s not afraid to get down and dirty in all three zones, and that’s just perfect.
The 18-year-old finished with one shot on goal and two penalty minutes.
Jesper Wallstedt, United States vs. Sweden
Ah, Jesper. He couldn’t get the win because of Sweden’s not-so-great defensive coverage in the zone, and ended up blaming himself for not saving all 41 shots he faced.
“I’m disappointed in myself. I think I betrayed the whole team.” - Jesper Wallstedt (MIN) after making 38 saves on 41 shots— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) August 15, 2022
This 38-for-41 performance still increased his tournament save percentage to a perfectly above-average .922 through the two games he’s started. Honestly, keeping this United States team to just three goals — they had a total of 19 goals in the three games prior to Sunday — is enough of an accomplishment itself. They might have the most talented group at front in Edmonton and he was able to play damn well enough.
On the opening goal, he got enough touches for it to almost not even be a goal.
That, and having the second just sneak by his pad after not a whole lot of help getting rid of American attackers from his defensemen, just speaks to the issue with this performance from Sweden and why Wallstedt should walk away still happy with his game.
Sweden face Germany in their final game of the group stage on Monday, so I can only imagine that they will go back to Calle Clang for this second half of a back-to-back — they started Clang against Austria earlier. But it should be Wallstedt in between the pipes for the entire medal round and we are surely going to see him work his magic.
As mentioned, Ohgren and Wallstedt are back in action on Monday, while Ryan O’Rourke and Carson Lambos’s Team Canada will be facing Finland in their final pre-medal round game. It will be an exciting end to this tournament, no doubt.