Power, Michkov shine on opening day of World Juniors
We’re off and running at the World Juniors.
The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship officially got underway on Boxing Day, with four games split between Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.
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Finland got things started with the tournament’s first game, besting Germany 3-1 at WP Centrium in Red Deer thanks in large part to a two-goal effort from Los Angeles Kings prospect Samuel Helenius and a pair of helpers by Brad Lambert. Sweden doubled up Russia 6-3 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, thanks in large part to the heady (and productive) play of Detroit Red Wings defense prospect Simon Edvinsson.
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Canada held off an early scare from Czechia with a 6-3 win of their own on the strength of performances by Buffalo Sabres prospect Owen Power and Winnipeg Jets first rounder Cole Perfetti. The United States closed out the day by dispatching of Slovakia 3-2 to earn their first win of the tournament.
Three stars of the day
Third star: Matvei Michkov (RUS)
Matvei Michkov absolutely shredded the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Championship last spring as a 16-year-old. Michkov isn’t about to shy away from a bigger stage. The freshly-turned 17-year-old had two goals in his World Juniors debut in Russia’s loss. He showed why he’ll be a strong contender for the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft alongside Connor Bedard.
Matvei Michkov just out here doing what he does best. And doing it well. He's a #2023NHLDraft eligible! Geez louise! #WorldJuniors https://t.co/hCtDsrkqIRpic.twitter.com/cX8Zclv8pu
— FCHockey (@FCHockey) December 26, 2021
Second star: Brad Lambert (FIN)
He didn’t score (at least after a second look), but Brad Lambert was buzzing throughout Finland’s opener. He initially had the tournament’s first goal — it was later credited to Samuel Helenius — before setting up Helenius again for Finland’s insurance-marker with a quick, nifty cross-ice helper. Lambert, No. 8 in FCHockey’s Winter ranking for the 2022 NHL Draft, has four points (one goal, three assists) at the tournament last year, and is off to a strong start at this year’s World Juniors.
Nifty feed here by Brad Lambert (#NHLDraft) to Samuel Helenius (#GoKingsGo) to give Finland a bit of room. https://t.co/XfEUI9guaDhttps://t.co/FNrXQEjssG pic.twitter.com/VoDixv7K9A
— Aaron Vickers (@AAVickers) December 26, 2021
First star: Owen Power (CAN)
Owen Power didn’t get the chance to participate at the World Juniors last year after the University of Michigan didn’t release him to participate a year ago. The No. 1 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres didn’t wait long to make an impact, scoring three goals in Canada’s win over Czechia. In the process, Power became the first defenseman ever to net a hat-trick at the World Juniors for Canada. Not bad for the rearguard, who already has gold with Canada at the 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship.
Hattrick Owen Power 🎩🎩🎩 pic.twitter.com/aIkgqS6Jni
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 27, 2021
Honorable mentions: Simon Edvinsson (SWE), Samuel Helenius (FIN), Mason McTavish (CAN)
Highlight of the night
Czechia wasn’t able to top Canada in their tournament opener, but it wasn’t without a strong push to start — including scoring three times on the team’s first four shots of the game. None was better than this effort from defenseman Stanislav Svozil, who walked around Canadian blueliner Olen Zellweger before beating Dylan Garand. Nifty hands from the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect, who had just one goal in 26 games with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League this season.
My goodness Stanislav Svozil (#CBJ). #WorldJuniors https://t.co/ymUfaGo5mu
📺: @TSN_Sports pic.twitter.com/gmkAjXwNyS
— Aaron Vickers (@AAVickers) December 27, 2021
FCHockey’s Three Stars
December 26: First: Owen Power (CAN); Second: Brad Lambert (FIN); Third: Matvei Michkov (RUS).