PLYMOUTH, Mich. – The 2023 World Junior Summer Showcase got underway here today at USA Hockey Arena with USA Blue dropping a 7-0 decision to Sweden to open play and Finland gaining a 4-2 victory over USA White in the second game of the afternoon.
The event serves as an evaluation for athletes seeking to make their respective national teams for the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship, set for Dec. 26, 2023 – Jan. 5, 2024, in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Below are brief recaps from the two games.
Sweden skated to a 7-0 victory over USA Blue in the opening game of the World Junior Summer Showcase.
The U.S. had a 12-5 edge in shots on goal in the opening frame, and limited Sweden to just a single shot on goal in the opening half of the stanza, but trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes. Sweden’s goals came from Anton Johannson at 16:37, and then just more than two minutes later, Felix Nilsson rang one in off the post from the left circle. Will Smith had the best U.S. chance on a break down the left side early in the second half of the period but was stopped by Hugo Havelid, who turned away all 25 U.S. shots on net in the contest.
The visitors extended their advantage to 5-0 after two periods with goals from Alexander Suzdalev at 3:33, Otto Stenberg on the power play at 12:27 and Zeb Forsfjall at 17:41. Sweden outshot USA Blue by a 14-5 count in the stanza.
Oskar Pettersson scored at 4:02 to make it 6-0 and Anton Wahlberg closed out the scoring on the power play at 10:53. Smith hit his second post in the game with 5:20 to play.
Andrew Oke played the opening 29:24 in goal for the U.S. and made nine saves on 12 shots, while Jacob Fowler was in net for the final 30:26 and stopped 12 of 16 shots.
In the second game of the day, Finland edged USA White by a 4-2 count.
Rutger McGroarty staked USA White to a 1-0 advantage, firing one home from the bottom of the left circle at 12:56 off a feed from Lane Hutson. U.S. netminder Tyler Muszelik made several point blank stops in the opening stanza, including off a chance from Jesse Kiiskinen on a break up the middle and subsequent rebound chance from Otto Heinonen at the bottom of the left circle just more than 90 seconds into the game.
Finland evened the game at 7:28 of the middle frame and then Otto Salin wristed one home from the left point on a 4-on-3 power play at 10:35 to put the visitors in the lead. Cole Eiserman finished a cross-ice feed from Frank Nazar III from the right circle while on the power play at 16:00 to tie the game, but Tommi Mannisto stole a puck, raced up the left side of the ice and beat Trey Augustine with 1:16 to play in the middle frame to give Finland a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.
The U.S. had some good opportunities on a couple of power play chances in the third, but could not find the equalizer. Finland sealed the game with an empty net goal with :31 to play.
Muszelik played the opening 29:27 of the contest and made 14 saves on 15 shots. Augustine finished the game and had 16 stops on 18 shots.
Game action in the World Junior Summer Showcase resumes on Monday (July 31) with USA Blue taking on Finland at 4 p.m. ET and USA White facing Sweden at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online here or at the USA Hockey Arena box office. All games from the WJSS are streamed live on USAHockeyTV.com.