3 things learned at Day 2 of World Juniors

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Sunday is the third day of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is being held at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Day 2 results

Sweden 7, Czech Republic 1
Canada 16, Germany 2
United States 11, Austria 0

 

What We Learned on Day 2

Confident Boldy finds his groove for United States

Forward Matthew Boldy (Minnesota Wild) scored three goals Saturday for the United States in an 11-0 victory against Austria in Group B play.

The Boston College sophomore said his game is in a much better place than it was last year, when he was one of the final cuts from the United States team before the 2020 tournament.

“I think my confidence and my ability to make plays [is better],” Boldy said. “I think coming into [Boston College] last year was a big change, going from junior (hockey) to college. A lot of changes in my life, stuff like that, which obviously doesn’t help. I just think my confidence has gotten a lot better, and along with that comes my ability to make plays.”

That ability to was evident against Austria.

His first goal showcased his speed on the wing, when he and center Matthew Beniers went in on a 2-on-1 and Boldy was in position to receive a perfect backhand from his teammate. The second goal was a testament to positioning; he found an open spot on the ice and slammed home the rebound generated by Arthur Kaliyev‘s point shot. In the third period, he was again in a good spot, this time receiving a cross-ice pass from Trevor Zegras for a one-timer to complete his hat trick.

Boldy, who was selected No. 12 by the Wild in the 2019 NHL Draft, has scored four points (three goals, one assist) in two games. He’s one point behind Zegras (three goals, two assists) for the United States lead.

The United States (1-0-0-1) plays the Czech Republic (0-0-0-1) on Tuesday (2 p.m. ET).

 

Mercer jack of all trades for Canada

Canada forward Dawson Mercer entered the tournament without a defined role. He made his case for more playing time In Canada’s first game on Saturday, a 16-2 win against Germany.

Mercer, selected No. 18 by the New Jersey Devils in the 2020 NHL Draft, scored four points (two goals, two assists) in the victory.

He gave Canada a 2-0 lead in the first period by getting in on the forecheck on a penalty kill and forcing goalie Arno Tiefensee into a turnover; it turned into an easy goal for Mercer, who did not score in seven appearances at the 2020 WJC.

“I was happy enough to get that shorthanded goal and give our team a [bigger] lead,” Mercer said. “I was happy enough to get that goal, get back there and look ahead to my next shift.”

Mercer, who signed his entry-level contract with the Devils on Thursday, scored his second goal, snapping home a perfect pass from Philip Tomasino (Nashville Predators) at 2:40 of the second period to give Canada a 5-1 lead. Later in the period, he forced goalie Jonas Gahr into a turnover and passed to Ryan Suzuki (Carolina Hurricanes) for an easy goal. Gahr replaced Tiefensee after the first period. Mercer closed his night with a secondary assist on a second-period goal by Tomasino that made it 9-1.

“I love being able to play on all different roles,” Mercer said. “Even out on the [penalty kill], scoring the goal, showing the offense there also. I got a lot of shifts in the offensive zone. I was able to play with a lot of different guys and capitalize whenever I can. I’m going to go out there and give 100 percent whenever I can and prove the type of player that I am.”

 

History doesn’t weigh on Sweden

Sweden has not lost in 53 straight preliminary-round games after defeating the Czech Republic 7-1 on Saturday. It is the longest such streak in World Juniors history.

The weight of extending the streak is not an issue that impacts Sweden, according to captain Philip Broberg (Edmonton Oilers).

“We don’t talk anything about it,” said the defenseman, who had three assists against the Czech Republic. “It doesn’t matter. We’re here to win gold, and if we lose one game [in the preliminary round], it doesn’t matter.”

The streak includes 46 wins in regulation, three in overtime and four in shootouts. Sweden’s last loss in the preliminary round was 3-2 in overtime against the United States on Dec. 31, 2006. However, Sweden has had trouble translating its preliminary-round dominance into success in the knockout round. In the past 13 years, it has won the championship once (2012), finished second five times and third twice.

Sweden (1-0-0-0) plays Austria (0-0-0-2) on Monday (2 p.m. ET).

 

On tap for Day 3

All games on NHL Network in U.S., TSN and RDS in Canada

Switzerland vs. Finland (2 p.m. ET) — Things don’t get easier for Switzerland (0-0-0-1), which suffered a bit of a shock with a 1-0 loss to Slovakia on the opening day of Group A play on Friday. It plays Finland (1-0-0-0), which defeated Germany 5-3 on Friday. Anton Lundell (Florida Panthers) and Aku Raty (Arizona Coyotes) scored first-period goals for Finland, which never trailed against Germany. Thibault Fatton (2021 draft eligible) made 31 saves for Switzerland in the loss to Slovakia.

Canada vs. Slovakia (6 p.m. ET) — Canada (1-0-0-0) established its offensive credentials in a 16-2 win in Group A against shorthanded Germany on Saturday. Forward Dylan Cozens (Buffalo Sabres) led the way with a hat trick and finished with six points. For Slovakia (1-0-0-0), Roman Faith (2021 draft eligible) scored the goal and Simon Latkoczy (2021 draft eligible) had the 28-save shutout in its 1-0 win against Switzerland.

Russia vs. Czech Republic (9:30 p.m. ET) — Russia (1-0-0-0) is looking to take early command of Group B with a win against the Czech Republic (0-0-0-1), which lost 7-1 to Sweden on Saturday. Vasiliy Ponomarev (Hurricanes) was the star in a 5-3 win against the United States on Friday, scoring two goals, and Ilya Safonov (2021 draft eligible) scored the game-winner.

 

Quick links

World Junior Championship predictions

Group A preview

Group B preview

World Junior Championship rosters

Tournament schedule

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