There were direct and odd little connections to the Vancouver Canucks in the Group B battle for first place between Team Sweden and the Americans on Sunday at the World Junior Championship. The obvious one was the presence of two prospects, 2022 1st-rounder, Swedish forward Jonathan Lekkerimaki and 2020 5th-rounder, defenceman Jacob Truscott of Team USA.
The latter came out with the upper hand 3-2 as the Americans finished atop the group and will play the Czech Republic, 4th place in Group A, in the win-or-go-home cross-over quarterfinals that begin on Wednesday.
Lekkerimaki registered one shot on goal in 11:32 of ice time while Truscott was steady on the blueline for the Yanks, also posting a shot while skating 13:03.
American D-man Luke Hughes, the little brother of Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes, tallied an assist in the game. And Logan Cooley, a young player from the Pittsburgh area, the 3rd-overall pick of the Arizona Coyotes in this summer’s NHL Draft, added two assists. In his revealing podcast appearance last week, JT Miller mentioned being impressed with Cooley’s skills as the two sometimes skate together with a group of pro’s and high-end juniors in Pittsburgh during the summer. The two also share the same agent.
The BC boys playing for Team Canada, Connor Bedard of North Vancouver, Dylan Garand of Victoria, Logan Stankoven of Kamloops, and Kent Johnson of Port Moody, will see their chance to shine when they play Finland in a game Monday night that will determine the top seed coming out of Group A.
Bedard has five points in the tournament, Stankoven four, while Garand leads the way in the major goaltending categories. He’s 2-and-0 with a WJC-best 1.00 Goals Against Average and a 95.6 save percentage.
The Canadians will be taking on Vancouver Canucks 3rd-round 2020 NHL Draft pick, defenceman Joni Jurmo of Team Finland. The game is slated for 3 pm pacific.
Coming up …
The American based NHL Network came up with its top-20 NHL centre rankings. Spoiler alert: JT Miller was 12th, Elias Pettersson 19th. More a little later …