Team Finland defeated Team Slovakia by a score of 5-2 today in Moncton.
The score of the game doesn’t tell the entire story. Slovakia was in this game. They started slow (Finland had the first eight shots on goal) but they slowly gained momentum and ended up outshooting the Finns 24-23.
Jani Lampinen was solid in net for Finland. Joakim Kemell and Oliver Kapinen also raised their games.
Peter Repcik, Dalibor Dvorsky, and Maxim Strbak (all draft eligible) showed well for Slovakia.
Here are some of my reports from Slovakia vs Finland:
Dalibor Dvorsky, F, Slovakia
Draft prospect Dvorsky was deployed at even strength and the power play (20:55 TOI). He impressed me with his vision and decision-making with the puck. Off the half wall on the power play, he has a quick release. The way he makes plays doesn’t allow for opponents to get set taking away shooting lanes and space. He takes advantage and directs pucks on goal from range. His pace was sound. He occasionally showed some push back and ability to extend plays. Dvorsky has some work to do off the puck in his zone but his overall detail was not a concern.
Dorsky had an assist on the first Slovakia goal after directing a puck on goal from his weak-side flank on the PP. The rebound was tucked in by Repcik.
Peter Repcik, F, Slovakia
Repcik had a nice game offensively. He scored twice on the power play after chipping home rebounds from the crease. Repcik plays for Charlottetown in the QMJHL. He previously played for Cape Breton. I appreciate his willingness to battle for position in the offensive zone, along the boards and the crease.
His off-the-puck detail, three-zone awareness and pace on the back check do present concerns. Repcik played 16 minutes for Slovakia. He ended the game minus-4 on the plus/minus scale.
Max Strbak, D, Slovakia
I was impressed with Strbak today. He was used primarily at even strength and on the power play. He distributed well and directed pucks on net from long range, resulting in rebound goals. He is a sound skater, sees the ice and displays offensive upside as a potential two-way/transitional defenceman. His defending will need to improve as he matures, but he appears to have a reliable hockey IQ so he can be “coached up” to be better in his zone.
Strbak plays for Sioux Falls in the USHL. He’s a Michigan State (NCAA) commit and eligible for the draft this summer.
Samuel Honzek, F, Slovakia
Honzek plays for the Vancouver Giants in the WHL. He’s a big body (6-foot-3.5, 186 lbs) who has good puck touch. He used his size and reach to shield opponents when he had the puck on his stick. He has good vision and works well off the cycle in the offensive zone. His skating will have to improve as he matures. Honzek is draft eligible. He’s a player on the rise.
Filip Mesar, F, Slovakia
The Montreal Canadiens draft pick (26th overall, 2022) was average for Slovakia. He occasionally attacked off the rush, but he was not enough of a threat in the middle of the ice / between the dots. He needs to find a way to make more plays in high-danger scoring areas and not stay to the perimeter.
Simon Nemec, D, Slovakia
The second overall pick from the 2022 draft is the captain of Team Slovakia. He was used in all situations and logged 27 minutes TOI. There were moments in the game he looked gassed and his execution suffered. Overall, however, Nemec continues to display elite vision and an understanding of how the game needs to be played in all three zones. He has potential top-pairing NHL upside.
Jami Lampinen, G, Finland
Lampinen was solid in net for the Finns. He has good size (6-foot-1, 184 lbs) and plays a butterfly/hybrid style. I was impressed with how Lampinen tracked the play. He moved laterally very well, made timely saves, and contributed with a focused effort. He didn’t steal the game, but he certainly made big stops when required.
Oliver Kapanen, F, Finland
The Montreal Canadiens prospect (64th overall, 2021) was outstanding for Team Finland. He won key faceoffs in both the offensive and defensive zone that led to either clean breakouts or goals for. Kapanen is the captain of the team and led by example today after a tough loss versus Switzerland yesterday. He’s a 200-foot forward who projects as a potential third-line forward. A player who chips in with some secondary scoring but can also match up against top elite opponents and be used on the penalty kill.
Joakim Kemell, F, Finland
Kemell was outstanding for the Finns. He played to his identity offensively (one goal and one assist). His goal came off a set play in the offensive zone. He blasted a one-timer home from just inside the circle on his strong side. His assist impressed me more than his goal. He tracked back, created a turnover, skated up ice quickly and hit Kapanen in stride entering the offensive zone before depositing the puck in the Slovakian net. Kemell played quickly, fast, and finished his checks. The Nashville Predators staff will be happy with his play today.