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!
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:
Bowen Byram falls awkwardly into the boards and is shaken up in the aftermath #GoAvsGo— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 28, 2019
Byram was on the receiving end of a couple of big hits in the first. He wasn’t really that noticeable until later in the period, when he was starting to handle the puck more and break out on the rush. #GoAvsGo— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 28, 2019
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:
Nikita Alexandrov— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) December 28, 2019
4-0 RUS pic.twitter.com/Qat4NmrMFP
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:
Bowen Byram with a solid shift in the last minute. In deep on the forecheck, retrieves the puck, gets a shot off on Miftakhov... #GoAvsGo— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 28, 2019
Byram with a couple of solid back to back shifts. Attempted some shots, kept the puck in at the blueline, smart reads and passing.— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 28, 2019
As bad as Canada's defense has looked, I've liked Byram and Drysdale.— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 28, 2019
Their two youngest blueliners.
Canada’s next game is against Germany on Monday. Hopefully they put up a better effort in that one.
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:
Aku Räty extends Finland's lead against Slovakia to two goals from close range. Great speed and skill from @GopherHockey forward Sampo Ranta who cuts to the net. Aatu Räty also gets an assist on the goal. #WorldJuniors #WJC2020 pic.twitter.com/MVTrxK7h8p— Finnish Jr Hockey (@FINjrhockey) December 28, 2019
Ranta’s speed was on display all night long, and he wasn’t just contributing offensively, either:
Sampo Ranta go zoom. He’s such a fluid and agile skater, and he’s stronger than he looks. The #GoAvsGo prospect has looked more noticeable today.— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 28, 2019
Buzzer sounds as Ranta makes a good defensive play to clear the puck out of the zone. Leading 7-1, Finland has essentially put the game out of reach, but there’s still one more period to play.— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 28, 2019
Down to just 11 forwards due to injury, Ranta was double-shifted in this game because he was playing so well:
Ranta is being double shifted with Eemil Erholtz and Ville Petman. #GoAvsGo— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 28, 2019
C Aatu Räty (2021) and W Aku Räty (ARZ) have formed Finland's best line with W Sampo Ranta (COL).— Jokke Nevalainen (@JokkeNevalainen) December 29, 2019
The Räty brothers also formed the best line with Roni Hirvonen (2020) [who was cut] at the U20 4 Nations a little over a month ago.
When are they going to get more ice time?
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 stops Pauliny on the backhand. The only way he’s going to be beat is by a perfectly placed shot or a redirection. His lateral movement and ability to track the puck is way too good.— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 28, 2019
Justus Annunen didn’t face nearly as many shots as he did in Game 1, but he was ready when he needed to be. Definitely the front-runner for goalie of the tournament after Knight, Wolf, and Askarov had shaky starts to theirs. Alnefelt dark horse for the honour? #GoAvsGo #GoBolts— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 28, 2019
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.
Justus Annunen (COL) gets to rest today but he is expected to play all the remaining games - against Switzerland on the 31st and then the quarterfinal game on the 2nd. We'll see if Finland can go further than that but if they do, Annunen needs to be their hero.— Jokke Nevalainen (@JokkeNevalainen) December 29, 2019
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.
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:
Pavel Dorofeyev— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) December 28, 2019
2-0 RUS pic.twitter.com/FTAk35IFXi
Other than that, Zhuravlyov once again had a solid game. He took a hit to make a good defensive play:
Dellandrea buried Zhuravlyov in the Russian zone after Z sent the puck up the ice #GoAvsGo— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 28, 2019
He showed off his edgework and puck-carrying skills in the offensive zone:
Nice puck control and spinning from Zhuravlyov as he tries to open up a shooting lane #GoAvsGo— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 28, 2019
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.
Like Russia’s first game, Zhuravlyov was much less noticeable compared to his partner in Romanov, but he made a couple of solid plays in his own end, was hard against opponents along the boards, and cut off a couple of passes to boot. #GoAvsGo— World Juniors Lauren (@laurkelly24) December 28, 2019
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)
7:00am — Kazahkstan vs. Finland
11:00am — USA vs. Russia
7:00am — Kazahkstan vs. Sweden
7:00am — Germany vs. Canada
11:00am — Slovakia vs. Switzerland
11:00am — USA vs. Czech Republic
7:00am — Sweden vs. Slovakia
7:00am — Russia vs. Germany
11:00am — Finland vs. Switzerland
11:00am — Canada vs. Czech Republic