August 10, 2022

The top highlights from Day 1 at the World Juniors

The first day of the rebooted 2022 World Juniors is in the books, and the tournament kicked off with a bang. 

Team USA started its defense of their 2021 title with a convincing 5-1 win over Germany to open its tournament, powered in part by a strong performance from New Jersey Devils prospect Luke Hughes. 

Not to be outdone, Joakim Kemell marched Finland to a convincing 6-1 win against Latvia. Kemell, selected in the first round (No. 20) of the 2022 NHL Draft by the Nashville Predators, had four points (two goals, two assists) and Aatu Raty (New York Islanders) also netted himself four points (one goal, three assists) in the victory.

Czechia rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to squeak out a 5-4 win against Slovakia in the tournament’s opener, with the undrafted Gabriel Szturc scoring the go-ahead goal at 18:10 of the third period. 

Here’s a look at the plays that captivated FCHockey scouts from Day 1 at the World Juniors: 

Joshua Samanski – Germany

Joshua Samanski has an early entry for goal of the tournament at the World Juniors. The undrafted forward cruised coast-to-coast for Germany’s only goal against Team USA, coming at 13:12 of the third with the score already 5-0.

“I love Samanski’s confidence and control during this play,” FCHockey scout Austin Broad said. “He attacks the USA defense at full speed and doesn’t back down, using his hands and puck control to pull off a perfectly timed toe drag before walking in and beating the goalie with a nice backhand shot.”

Logan Cooley – Team USA

Logan Cooley, the No. 3 pick in the 2022 draft by the Arizona Coyotes, wasted little time getting on the board at the World Juniors thanks in part to a combination of efforts from Matt Coronato (Calgary Flames) and Jack Peart (Minnesota Wild). Peart effortlessly cruised through the neutral zone before dishing to Coronato, who beat a defender and drew another before finding a streaking Cooley.

“Jack Peart executes a nice slingshot play to set up Coronato who makes a nice move before dishing it off to Cooley for the goal,” FCHockey scout Douglas Larson detailed. “Hard to draw it up better than that.”

Joakim Kemell – Finland

It’s tough to decide which was the better setup that hit Kemell’s stick in his World Juniors opener, so how about both? Kemell was the beneficiary of two nifty setups — the first from Raty just 8:54 into the tournament on a setup across the top of the crease and to the left, and the second from Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Roni Hirvonen on a 2-on-1 rush that Kemell deposited from the right side of the ice.

“Love the little give-and-go attempt between Raty and Kemell here,” FCHockey scout Rasmus Tornqvist said. “With the Latvian goalie having to react to the pass attempt, it opens up his five-hole and allows Kemell to score through a fortunate bounce.”

“What patience and hockey IQ by Hirvonen,” Tornqvist said. “A subtle little fake just before passing to fool the Latvian goalie into thinking he might shoot, which gave Kemell an extra split second to put the puck in the net.”

Brad Lambert – Finland

Sometimes there’s beauty in simplicity. Brad Lambert (Winnipeg Jets) might agree. Lambert uncorked a wicked shot on a setup into the high slot from Roby Jarventie, launching the puck with incredible velocity after taking the pass directly in his wheelhouse from the Ottawa Senators prospect.

“Clearly a well-rehearsed set play on this one,” Tornqvist said. “Lambert stops at the perfect position opening himself up for the one-timer, and after a perfect feed from Jarventie he beat the Latvian goaltender with a really good shot.”

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