by Corey Pronman
Final Score: 6-4 Switzerland Shot Totals: 37-33 Switzerland
Final Score: 6-3 Sweden Shot Totals: 45-21 Sweden
NY Rangers Jesper Fasth: 2G
Wild Johan Larsson: 1G and 2 Pts
Red Wing Calle Jarnkrok: 1G and 3 Pts
2012 eligible Martin Frk: 2G
Final Score: 8-2 Russia Shot Totals: 55-24 Russia
2011 eligible (twice undrafted) Nikita Dvurechenski: 1G and 3 Pts
Capitals Evgeny Kuznetsov: 1G and 2 Pts
Capitals Dmitri Orlov: 3A
Blues Vladimir Tarasenko: 1G and 2 Pts
Final Score: 4-0 USA Shot Totals: 48-14 USA
Sharks Charlie Coyle: 1G and 2 Pts
Devils Jon Merrill: 1G and 2 Pts
Notes and thoughts from the day:
- Switzerland has two notable 2011 prospects that were looking for a big tournament to put on their resume. One being 93 birth date Gregory Hofmann who has been terrific in International play the last year or so. He had a good game today, flashing above-average skating, good physical play and heads-up decision making. The other prospect is Sven Bartschi, a 92 birth date playing in the WHL who despite scoring a goal was unimpressive. He made several poor turnovers, was easily erased along the boards, strayed along the perimeter a lot and despite flashing his impressive skills never really got involved offensively.
- Today’s Sweden-Czech Republic game saw several Swedes have good games, but Calle Jarnkrok’s stood out amongst them all. The Detroit second rounder showed all-around pro level skating, plus puck-handling and playmaking ability, as well as very good decision making. He also scored on a nifty backhand goal.
- Other Swedes who had good games include Predators’ Patrik Cehlin, two 2011 prospects Adam Larsson and Rickard Rakell, Rangers’ Jesper Fasth, and Wild’s prospect Johan Larsson.
- Flyers’ prospect Simon Bertilsson didn’t have a great game. His decision-making was on and off but when it was off it resulted in poor turnovers and positional play. At one point Martin Frk turned him around as Simon very lazily got back into position.It was a very out of character game for a guy known for his hockey sense.
- 2011 eligible for Sweden Max Friberg had a fine showing. He scored once, was effective on the penalty kill, and got a couple of chances by being aware and hovering around the high percentage areas.
- Blues’ prospect Vladimir Tarasenko was up and down in Russia’s game versus Norway. The first period was horrid for Tarasenko as he was invisible offensively and had a brutal giveaway that resulted in Norway tying the game at 2-2. He came back the next period though and created some offense, most notable when he sniped a goal from the circles. Some of Russia’s others top guns like Dmitri Orlov and Evgeny Kuznetsov were similarly inconsistent in the first half of the game, before the rout started in the second half and they started to create a good amount of scoring chances.
- Leafs Sondre Olden hasn’t had the best of tournaments, although that’s partially due to the quality of Norway’s team. However for one of the team’s more talented players, he isn’t involved in the proportion of the offense they do generate as one would have expected.
- Lightning prospect Richard Panik had a solid offensive showing for Slovakia today. He displayed his plus puck skills and the flash that he is known for. He made some great passes, won battles and on his goal executed a nice toe-drag and fired the puck short-side as he was about to get hit by defenders in the middle of the ice.
- Devils’ prospect Jon Merrill was terrific versus the Germans as were the Americans as a whole as they dominated puck possession throughout the game. Merrill was smart and conservative defensively with spots of selective pinching in or getting involved in the offense. He scored as well, although the goal was partially fluky as he got a good tip on a shot thrown at the net.
- I’ve talked about Charlie Coyle before and how he’s had a big season thus far in the NCAA. His offense has carried over to the U-20’s as he’s been a great weapon for the States. He’s a mountain of a man with great balance on his skates. His puck abilities are subtle, yet solid and he’d displayed good finishing ability. The Sharks may have found a fine player late in the first round.
- Derek Forbort, a Kings first round pick has been underwhelming in this tournament. He’s got the frame and skating ability, but his performance hasn’t been at a desirable level.
- 2012 eligible Martin Frk had his best game of the tournament. His shot is plus if not plus-plus and he showed why on the two goals he potted, not to mention the one Swedish player he knocked the wind out of when he one-timed a blast into his chest.
The preliminary round reaches its final day before the medal and relegation round. Canada and Sweden will play each other for a first round bye in the next round, Russia and the Czechs play with the victor advancing and the loser going to the relegation round, while the USA can clinch a bye with a win versus Switzerland. For more coverage of the tournament, I will be posting frequently about it on my twitter account. Hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year!