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Avalanche Prospects at the 2020 World Juniors Day 3: Sampo Ranta came to play

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It was a good day to be an Avalanche prospect not on Team Canada.

MATT ZAMBONIN / HHOF-IIHF IMAGES

Well, Day 3 at the 2020 World Juniors had our first routs of the tournament, which all four Colorado Avalanche prospects were involved in! Finland blew past Slovakia 8-1, while Russia obliterated Canada 6-0.

No Avalanche prospects played on Day 2, which is why I didn’t put up a post on Saturday. However, there will be daily updates for the remainder of the round robin, so keep an eye for those. Once again, feel free to check out my daily recaps at Raw Charge if you want a more detailed game recap.

Here’s how our Avs prospects fared!

Bowen Byram

LD — Canada

It was really, really hard to watch this game, let alone see anyone stand out on Team Canada. I still don’t know what criteria Hockey Canada used to choose their player of the game, because honestly, I don’t think anyone really deserved the honour.

Byram led the team in ice-time with 19:08 and registered one shot on goal. In a game where Canada forgot how to play in their own end, I actually didn’t have too much of a problem with how Byram played.

He got rocked by a couple of big hits throughout the game, and although shaken, didn’t look any worse for wear:

As the score continued to increase and Canada continued to get outplayed, Byram’s only real glaring miscue was being too passive on Nikita Alexandrov (STL) on the 4-0 goal:

Byram was one of the only skaters in the third period that really still had any jump. And while plus-minus is a bad stat to use for analysis, it was actually pretty reassuring to see that, at the end of the game, he only finished with a minus-1.

Here are some of his better moments:

Canada’s next game is against Germany on Monday. Hopefully they put up a better effort in that one.

Sampo Ranta

LW — Finland

Now onto less-depressing updates! Although still on the fourth line, Ranta and his linemates, Aku (ARI) and Aatu (2021) Raty, had a dominant performance as Finland beat Slovakia handily. Ranta had two assists and three shots on goal, despite only playing 13:00 in the game.

Here are his assists:

Ranta’s speed was on display all night long, and he wasn’t just contributing offensively, either:

Down to just 11 forwards due to injury, Ranta was double-shifted in this game because he was playing so well:

Justus Annunen

G — Finland

Annunen wasn’t nearly as busy in his second game of the tournament. He made 25 saves on 26 shots and was excellent in net when Slovakia did come down on an offensive rush. It was just that his teammates did a much better job of shutting Slovakia down and limiting their chances than they did against Sweden.

The one goal that he did allow was a redirected pass in front of him. Other than that, he was unbeatable.

Annunen highlights!

Finland will play this morning against Kazakhstan, but due to the back-to-back situation, Annunen will get the day off. Kari Piiroinen will be Finland’s starter instead.

The Finns’ schedule is relatively easy to close out the round robin, and barring anymore upsets, they look poised to finish second in the group.

Danila Zhuravlyov

LD — Russia

Zhuravlyov was on the winning end of the 6-0 rout, and picked up a secondary assist in 14:29 of ice-time. His apple came off of Pavel Dorofeyev’s 2-0 goal, as he passed the puck off to Nikita Alexandrov in the neutral zone:

Other than that, Zhuravlyov once again had a solid game. He took a hit to make a good defensive play:

He showed off his edgework and puck-carrying skills in the offensive zone:

And although I tweeted this after the first period, I definitely felt Zhuravlyov kept up the same level of play throughout the game, even as the score got out of hand.

It was a much better all-around effort from Russia compared to how they played on Boxing Day. They won’t have much time to savour this win, though. They take on USA later today in a critical matchup. With all five teams in the Group of Death currently sitting 1-1-0, a win today would keep Russia near the top of the group. But a loss would see them fighting to avoid playing in relegation on New Year’s Eve.

Round Robin Schedule

(All times MT, teams with Avalanche prospects are bolded)

December 29

7:00am — Kazahkstan vs. Finland
11:00am — USA vs. Russia

December 30

7:00am — Kazahkstan vs. Sweden
7:00am — Germany vs. Canada
11:00am — Slovakia vs. Switzerland
11:00am — USA vs. Czech Republic

December 31

7:00am — Sweden vs. Slovakia
7:00am — Russia vs. Germany
11:00am — Finland vs. Switzerland
11:00am — Canada vs. Czech Republic