FC
Staff
December 27, 2021

Wallstedt, Koivunen excellent on second day of World Juniors

There’s a trend emerging at the World Juniors. And it has a Finnish flavor. 

It was Finland — for a second straight day — that impressed at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, walking through an opponent with a similar cast of characters standing out.

RELATED: NHL DRAFT ELIGIBLES TO WATCH AT THE WJC

Finland, expectedly, bested Austria 7-1 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, with the trio of Brad Lambert, Ville Koivunen, and Samuel Helenius leading the way. Lambert had three points, including his first goal of the tournament, and Koivunen had three points (two goals, one assist). Helenius scored twice in the win to push his tournament lead to four.

It was Germany, also in Edmonton, upended Czechia on the strength of a 39-save performance from Florian Bugl in a 2-1 overtime win. 

RELATED: PROSPECTS TO WATCH AT THE WJC

Russia doubled-up on Switzerland 4-2 at WP Centrium in Red Deer, and it was 2023 NHL Draft eligible Matvei Michkov finding the scoresheet again with his third of the tournament. Sweden was backstopped in a big way by Minnesota Wild prospect Jesper Wallstedt, helping his country to a 3-0 win against Slovakia in Red Deer with an incredible 48-save shutout.

Here’s who stood out on the first day of the World Juniors:

Three stars of the day

Third star: Brad Lambert (FIN)

How about an encore? Brad Lambert was named our second star for the opening day of the tournament after a pair of helpers. He followed it up with a three-point effort — including his first goal of the tournament — in Finland’s shellacking of Austria. Lambert, No. 8 in FCHockey’s Winter ranking for the 2022 NHL Draft, now has five points (one goal, four assists) in just two games to pace the tournament in scoring.

Second star: Ville Koivunen (FIN)

Ville Koivunen was buzzing in Finland’s win against Austria, scoring twice and adding a helper for a three-point performance. His first came on a nifty setup by Lambert, but it’ll be his second one that stands out even more — and it might be one of the better ones when the tournament is all said and done. Koivunen, selected in the second round (No. 51) of the 2021 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes, is up to four points (two goals, two assists) in two games.

First star: Jesper Wallstedt (SWE)

Yes, it’s early. But Jesper Wallstedt had himself the best game a goaltender has turned in through the first eight games at the World Juniors. Wallstedt, selected in the first round (No. 20) in the 2021 NHL Draft, kicked aside 48 shots to help Sweden to a 3-0 shutout win over the surprising, upstarts Slovakia squad. He’s now won his first two starts after making 24 saves in a 6-3 win against Russia on Sunday. Five saves came shorthanded midway through the third period on a match penalty to Leo Loof midway through the third period that also included a 1:10 5-on-3 opportunity that was converted into a 6-on-3 with Slovakia’s net empty.

Honorable mentions: Florian Bugl (DEU), Marco Kasper (AUT), Samuel Helenius (FIN), Alexander Blank (DEU)

Highlight of the night

Alexander Blank took matters into his own hands. Tied 1-1 in overtime, he lifted Germany to a surprising victory over Czechia with this end-to-ender, capped beautifully by a short-side snipe over Detroit Red Wings prospect Jan Bednar to net his country a pair of points. The play started below his own goal line, and essentially ended at the other.

Leaderboard

RNK NAME POS COUNTRY TEAM GP G A PTS PIM
1 Brad Lambert F FIN 2022 2 1 4 5 0
2 Samuel Helenius F FIN LAK 2 3 1 4 2
3 Ville Koivunen F FIN CAR 2 2 2 4 0
4 Owen Power D CAN BUF 1 3 0 3 0
5 Matvei Michkov F RUS 2023 2 3 0 3 0
6 Alexander Blank F GER 2 2 1 3 0
7 Simon Edvinsson D SWE DET 2 1 2 3 4
7 Joel Maatta F FIN 2 1 2 3 4
9 Cole Perfetti F CAN WPG 1 0 3 3 0
10 William Eklund F SWE SJS 2 0 3 3 0
10 Helge Grans D SWE LAK 2 0 3 3 0

FCHockey’s Three Stars

December 27: First: Jesper Wallstedt (SWE); Second: Ville Koivunen (FIN); Third: Brad Lambert (FIN).
December 26: First: Owen Power (CAN); Second: Brad Lambert (FIN); Third: Matvei Michkov (RUS).

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