The seventh day of the 2022 World Juniors marked the last day of group play.
All three games had a noticeably heightened sense of importance as they would determine group rankings heading into the quarterfinals, or in the case of Switzerland and Austria, whether they would have a spot at all.
In the first game, Switzerland and Austria battled for Group B’s final spot in the hopes of punching their ticket to the quarterfinals. Both teams were also looking for their first win, having each lost their previous three.
Austria’s captain Leon Wallner opened the scoring with the team’s first shot on goal over eight minutes into the first period. Switzerland eventually answered back, scoring twice to take the lead – until Austria got another one past Noah Patenaude to tie the game with 24.7 seconds to go in the second period.
After a break in scoring in the third, Austria’s Lorenz Linder was called for a five-minute boarding major. Switzerland took full advantage of Austria being down a man, scoring on the extended powerplay to take the game 3-2. Their win eliminated Austria and earned them a spot in the next round of play.
The second game saw Canada face Finland, with the result determining who would go unbeaten and earn first place in Group A. Canada started the game with three unanswered goals, including a laser wrister from Conor Bedard, until Finland got one back with just seconds to go in the first period. After Canada recorded two more tallies, one of which marked Mason McTavish’s tournament-leading seventh goal, Finland made it 5-2.
The goal was met by a coach’s challenge from Canada’s bench but it ultimately stood as the review was deemed “inconclusive.” After a slew of penalties against Canada, Finland was able to record another but with just over a minute to go, Finland pulled Leevi Merilainen and Canada extended the lead with an empty netter, taking the game 6-3.
In the final game of the day, Sweden and Germany met in a battle for second place in Group B. Germany opened the scoring early in the fourth minute of play, however Sweden was quick to respond with three unanswered to take a 3-1 lead. After a scoreless second, each side added an extra tally in the third, resulting in a 4-2 victory for Sweden.
With the last three remaining games of the preliminary round complete, the quarterfinals are now set to begin on Wednesday. Teams will get a much-needed breather with no games scheduled Tuesday.
Here is a look at some top performances from Day 7 of the World Juniors.
3rd Star: Attilio Biasca, Switzerland
With the primary assist on Joshua Fahri’s goal, Biasca played an important role in opening the scoring for Switzerland. The goal came on the team’s 11th power play opportunity of the tournament, after going 0 / 10 as the only team who had yet to record a powerplay goal entering the game. Biasca’s pass was deflected off an Austrian player’s stick, which Fahri was then able to grab and release, to rip it far side.
Biasca also gave his team a 3-2 lead with a powerplay goal which ended up becoming the game-winner. After having plenty of great opportunities to score in the game, when a loose puck came right to him, the 19-year-old was able to convert, getting around Austria’s goalie to put the puck into a wide-open net.
Honourable mention: David Reinbacher, Austria
The 17-year-old was the only Austrian player to record two points in the game – both assists. He had the primary on Wallner’s goal which ended Austria’s goal drought at 166:28 in the first period of the game, after the team had been shut out by both Sweden and USA. Reinnbacher also had the primary on Ian Scherzer’s goal after he took a long shot from the blue line, which Scherzer deflected into the net to tie the game.
2nd Star: Daniel Ljungman, Sweden
The 20-year-old Dallas Stars draftee scored in the opening period for Sweden, showing off perfect hand-eye coordination by batting in the puck off an airborne rebound. He added a power play marker in the third when he rifled a wrister from the face-off circle, on a pass from Theodor Niederbach. The two goals marked his first of the tournament.
Honourable mention: Joakim Kemell, Finland
The Nashville Predators prospect was the only Finnish player to earn two points vs. Canada. He netted a power play goal and the primary assist on Roby Jarventie’s one-timer, both in the third period.
1st Star: Ridly Greig, Canada
The Ottawa Senators’ 28th overall pick in 2020 has undoubtedly proven his skill in this tournament. The forward was awarded player of the game for the second time this week as a result of his strong performance.
His first point of the night was a primary assist on Tyson Foerster’s goal. After Grieg took his own shot on net, Foerster crashed down the middle of the ice to grab the puck and convert the rebound. His other point of the night came in the form of a goal, just 31 seconds into the second period.
Equally impressive was the 20-year-old’s defensive effort on the penalty kill. Greig repeatedly put his body on the line doing all he could to stop Finland from spoiling Canada’s lead. He was taking faceoffs, blocking shots, and trying to draw penalties, putting in an overall gutsy effort clearly igniting the Canadian bench.
Honourable mention: Olen Zellweger, Canada
The Anaheim Ducks prospect recorded three assists in the game. His first, a primary, was on Brennan Othmann’s opening goal, a deflection from Zellweger’s wrist shot. He also had a secondary assist on Greig’s goal, and the primary on McTavish’s.