August 11, 2022

Connor Bedard and the things we learned on Day 2 of the World Juniors

The second day of the World Juniors saw the tournament debuts of two teams, and individuals didn’t disappoint.

Canada and Sweden both kicked things off, finally, at the summer edition of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, showcasing arguably the top prospects to participate in the tournament by way of some high-end talent.

Fans didn’t come away disappointed with impressive performances from Connor Bedard, Jesper Wallstedt, and a show-stealing effort by one German player.

Here are some of the things we learned from the second day of the tournament:

Bedard shines in his first appearance of the World Juniors

With all due respect to the other high-end prospects in the event, Bedard will draw everyone’s attention whenever he laces up his skates.

Canada had a slower start against Latvia than anticipated, but the presumptive top 2023 draft eligible prospect got things started with a bang. Bedard is a lethal player whenever the puck is on his stick, and his beautiful rush goal in the first period was a wonderful display of his elite shooting ability. 

Bedard later added an assist for a two-point effort in the 5-2 win, but his game and the hype surrounding him are about much more than pure production. He can make special plays every time he steps on the ice, and he had multiple displays of his elite skill throughout the game.

He is as advertised, and he is must-watch TV whenever he plays. 

Wallstedt backstops Sweden to a big win

Switzerland put up a great effort against the loaded Swedish team in their opening game of the World Juniors. Switzerland outshot Sweden 9-4 in the first period, and tested Wallstedt (Minnesota Wild) with multiple high-quality chances throughout the period. Despite Sweden jumping out to a 3-0 lead, the Swiss battled back to make it a one-goal contest, but Wallstedt shut the door to hang on for the win.

He is one of the highest rated goalie prospects in the world and will be relied on heavily to help lead the Swedes to success at this tournament. His first performance was an excellent tone-setter for the rest of the event and should provide Wallstedt with some confidence as the round robin continues over the coming days.

Alexander Blank’s hatty helps the Germany respond

Germany opened the tournament with a 5-1 loss to Team USA on Tuesday and needed someone to step up and help right the ship against the Austrians Wednesday night. Cue Alexander Blank. The undrafted German forward stepped up in a big way, recording a second period hat-trick to help lead his team to a big victory over Austria.

Blank showed off his knack for getting the puck in prime scoring areas and his shot. He scored in multiple situations with his first coming at five-on-five and his second and third goals netted on an extended power play. His performance was desperately needed as the Germans had to beat Austria to keep any hopes they had left alive for the rest of the tournament. 

Honorable Mentions

Despite the losing efforts of both of their teams, Senna Peeters of Austria and Klavs Veinbergs of Latvia had strong showings on Wednesday night, and are worthy of a mention.

Peeters, an undrafted forward, had a goal and an assist for Austrian against Germany, and will need to continue to be his group’s best player going forward if they have any shot of making noise the rest of the way. Veinbergs, a Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, picked up an assist against Canada for his second point in as many contests. He has been in on two of Latvia’s three goals through their first two games, and is proving that the World Juniors is not too big of a stage for him.


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