Flames at the World Juniors: Double gold, a silver, and a bronze

Ari Yanover
January 05 2017 09:59PM

I would imagine it's easier to get up to play for a gold medal as opposed to bronze, and that reflected in the starts to both medal games as the 2017 World Juniors came to a close. 

The starts - because the bronze medal game did pick up in pace as it went on (before the inevitable depression that comes with losing two games in a row, and walking away with absolutely nothing to show for it - finishing fourth place has to be the absolute worst). 

The gold, though? That one got off to an intense start that never relented.

In the end, Adam Fox, Tyler Parsons, and Team USA won gold; Dillon Dube and Team Canada won silver; Pavel Karnaukhov and Team Russia won bronze; and Oliver Kylington and Team Sweden ended up having to walk away empty handed.

Russia 2 - Sweden 1 (OT)

Oliver Kylington was named Sweden's player of the game. He played 22:27, the most out of all Swedish skaters. He had five shots on net: the second most, behind Jonathan Dahlen who had eight, and tied with Joel Eriksson Ek. 

On a Swedish team that has been having trouble scoring in the medal rounds, Kylington was one of their most active players, and one of the ones most desperate to create something. He quarterbacked their powerplay, distributing the puck and finding his own shooting lanes rather often; he didn't take any bad shots, and a number of his puck distributions had the potential to be dangerous. (He actually briefly broke Kirill Belyayev on a kill, as he ended up blocking two Kylington shots and was left incapacitated until his next shot got through and Ilya Samsonov froze it.)

He was out there for Sweden's goal, and not on the ice for any goals against, though he ultimately didn't have any impact on the goal, which was a solo-created effort from Dahlen off a turnover.

Kylington's one penalty actually came from slashing Karnaukhov on his way to the net; Karnaukhov was driving towards it and the slash ended any scoring chance, while the Swedes were able to kill off his penalty. He also had a couple instances of rubbing Russians out while they were on the rush, preventing more scoring chances from them.

Most prominent about him was his skating, which should come as no surprise. There were constant instances throughout the game that resulted in frantic back-and-forth play, with Kylington following the puck from end to end each time and seeming to not tire while doing so: leading the rush to create a Swedish chance, being one of the first ones back when it went the other way for a Russian chance, then back down the offensive end, and so on and so forth. His skating is incredible.

If you were able to watch the broadcast, Ray Ferraro had a fair amount of love for him, along with succinctly pointing out his faults: namely an occasional lack of vision, being blindsided by opportunities to jump up in the rush, and subsequently isolating himself in no-man's land and being surrounded by the opposition. This seemed fewer and further between by my eye, at least this game.

Throughout the tournament, Kylington emphasized just what makes him so promising a prospect, while also showing exactly why patience needs to be exhibited with him. And it's extremely unfortunate he's the only Flames prospect to come away without a medal - because he could still be the most exciting of them all.

Pavel Karnaukhov played 13:53, once again in about a third line role. He had just one shot on net and wasn't an impact on any of the goals scored, either for or against.

That said, it's not like he didn't try. Throughout this tournament, Karnaukhov has tried to centre the puck, leading to golden opportunities that almost every time his teammates missed. There was a rather prominent example of this in the bronze medal game, too. Similar to his assist on the Russians' second goal against the Americans in the semifinal, Karnaukhov had multiple Swedes on top of him behind the Swedish net. He outmuscled them in order to lay out a beautiful centring pass to Denis Guryanov - who fanned what would have been a golden scoring chance.

Otherwise, it was the same from him as it's been all tournament: a general steady, physical presence trying to create something and mostly failing, though often through no fault of his own. He did turn the puck over a couple of times, which led to some dangerous chances for the Swedes; that led to him hauling ass to make sure nothing bad came of it. (Nothing did.)

Karnaukhov ends his world junior eligibility with a bronze medal.

USA 5 - Canada 4 (SO)

Dillon Dube played 17:19, including 5:12 in overtime. He was credited with three shots on net, including two in overtime, and did not pick up any points, though he was out there for Canada's second goal.

And honestly, the lack of points for Dube - he registered just three assists through the tournament - is not an accurate reflection of his contributions to this team. His linemate, Anthony Cirelli, did steal the show; that said, it can't be understated just how good a fourth line this was for the Canadians. When their top players struggled, they were the ones who got things going. They were thorns in the sides of the Americans throughout the game.

Dube was a part of multiple rushes up the ice, many of which led to Canadian scoring chances, and at least one of which drew a penalty. He was an initiator of several Canadian cycles, and created a number of opportunities that had the chance to turn into something. When he did make a mistake - such as turning the puck over - he busted back in order to prevent further damage, such as by clearing away an ensuing rebound.

While Dube received limited powerplay time, he was once again prevalent on the penalty kill, and generally did a good job of holding the Americans to the outside or killing time in the offensive zone instead. He wasn't perfect - there were even strength shifts in which he didn't do much to help as the Americans dominated the Canadians - but they were, overall, few and far between.

He was fast, he used his speed to set up Canadian chances, and he had a bigger role than the numbers give him credit for. 

He's 18, so he'll be eligible to play again for Canada in 2018. I'd be surprised if he didn't return, especially considering how little he played prior to the tournament in general, and how Team Canada still wanted him. An older Dube, and hopefully one with a healthy season beforehand, in this tournament will be one to watch without a doubt.

Adam Fox played 14:32, including just 2:14 in overtime. Fox's diminishing usage over the game was a little perplexing considering how he had a direct hand in three of the Americans' four goals. He played the least amount out of all healthy American defencemen, and yet he had the most points out of everyone who played in this game, for both teams.

Fox had one assist this tournament coming into this game. He assisted on the Americans' first goal, helping advance the puck up the ice prior to Charlie McAvoy scoring.

His second assist came on the powerplay, when he took a shot from the point and it bounced off of Kieffer Bellows and in.

And his third assist was on the Americans' final goal, and the one that sent the game to overtime. Again, from the point, Fox had his head up and saw Colin White in prime scoring position; he found him with a seeing eye pass, tying the game and being the final piece in the puzzle to force overtime - and, ultimately, set the stage for his goalie to secure the gold medal.

He wasn't perfect in this game; there were times the sheer force of the Canadian players simply overwhelmed him (an aimless batting of the puck out of mid-air turned directly into a Canadian goal, for one thing). At the same time, he generally did a good job of preventing clean zone entries, and he was overall composed in his own end when he couldn't. He was also able to clear the puck cleanly more often than not.

But this was the game where we really saw just how Fox is scoring as much as he is in the NCAA. Like Dube, he'll be eligible to play next year. Hopefully he'll have a bigger role - because the Americans don't even get to overtime without Fox's instincts.

Tyler Parsons stopped 46 of 50 shots, including 17 in overtime (the Americans, in turn, only took seven shots through the extra frame). He had a 95.83 SV%, and was perfect in the shootout.

Even though he let in four goals, he was phenomenal. Broken record, but Parsons is the epitome of a battler; never more apparent than during overtime, during which he was overwhelmed with scoring chances against him - in particular on the penalty kill. He was especially aggressive then, challenging players and winning each battle.

He didn't give up any particularly bad goals. Two goals on three shots to open the game wasn't ideal, but he didn't always get the help he needed from his defencemen anyway, and had to start the game diving across the crease - and getting scored on - as every American in front of him collectively had a breakdown just five minutes in. The fourth goal against was the result of a complete undressing of the American defencemen as well, leaving him with little chance.

Parsons also gave up some pretty nasty rebounds at times, but without any Canadians in the area to capitalize on them, he was safe - though he did sacrifice goals due to rebounds earlier in the tournament, so that'll probably be a thing to watch out for in the future. Certainly didn't hurt him this game, though.

Throughout the game, Parsons had to contend with players from both teams falling all over him. Despite that he was still able to track the puck, was never really taken by surprise, and just dominated his own crease, no matter how many shots came his way.

Parsons ages out of the tournament with a gold medal, and his teammates can all thank him for theirs, too: 36 shots for them, 50 against. Parsons crushed it in back-to-back games.

F0c4c8e806b29606c84e319f03049d40
Ari first fell in love with the Flames during the city-wide madness that was 2004. She enjoys thinking about the Flames, writing about the Flames, (Alexander) Hamilton, and dogs. You can find 140-character versions of her yelling at @thirtyfourseven.
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#1 Gfountyyc
January 05 2017, 10:06PM
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I didn't see who was in the tournament all star team. Was parsons named the goalie?

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#2 FerdaFlames
January 05 2017, 10:08PM
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Honestly as much as I like Gillies, I think Parsons is our man of the future! Johnathen Quick 2.0?

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#4 flames2015
January 05 2017, 10:16PM
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All our prospects looked good in this tournament. Even though Canada lost, hats off to parson for a great game. Excited to see him in our future pipeline. Sucks that the game had to end via individual skills compeition, can you imagine if the stanley cup winner was chsoen like this.

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#5 The GREAT WW
January 05 2017, 10:24PM
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Nicely done Ari, good stuff!

Your write up of Dube sounds an awful lot like Josh Jooris....

Jooris has had a good NHL career: 17 goals.....that's 17 more NHL goals than any of you pillow fluffers reading this have scored....

WW

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#6 Gfountyyc
January 05 2017, 10:26PM
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@Ari Yanover

Thanks! Either way the future looks bright in our net.

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#7 dontcryWOLF88
January 05 2017, 10:59PM
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@The GREAT WW

17 more than you also, fake WW, lets not forget.

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#8 Newbietwo
January 05 2017, 11:22PM
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Dube reminds me a lot of Stajan but with speed.. upside on the defensive sid of the game but not top 6..

Parsons is the real deal and once he settles down a bit more in net with structure he's going to be great.. Gillies and Parsons 2019

Kylington is off the charts with his skating but he won't make the big club next year.. Why!? Because it will take him this season and next to read the play and gain defensive structure so Kylington 2018.

I don't see Kaurnakov making the big club although he has bottom 6 potential unfortunately we just have other players ahead here

Fox will be all around awesome 4 defensemen 2019

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#9 OKG
January 05 2017, 11:42PM
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The idea of a Fox Hickey pair gets me excited. Two guys who would compliment each other as well as anybody. Or even Hickey Andersson + Kylington Hamilton

Meanwhile Gio and Brodie could be reunited, I know Gio-Hamilton is an advanced stats darling but Gio-Brodie is still my favorite pairing, when the pressure is on they just know how to score goals. And poor Brett Kulak never even got a mention there.

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#10 Jumping Jack Flash
January 06 2017, 12:26AM
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That was a great game on the heals of an entertaining tournament. I will go as far as to say that the US vs Russia Semi final was one of the best games I have watched....ever. Today's game was no slouch either.

My key take aways on our prospects:

Oliver Kjillington

Today was The best game I have ever seen Kjillington play. Next to Samsonov, the Russian Keeper (who stole the game) he was next best player on the ice. His outlet passes are NHL caliber. I thought he was really composed and unlucky not to score. He seems to have a hard accurate shot and typically gets it on net.

Dillon Dube

I have to agree with the comments stating that Dube's stats in this tournament did not do him justice. I felt he was the engine for team Canada. He made this team based on his energy and it was easy to see how.

Adam Fox

There seemed to be a lot going on behind the scenes between Fox and the coaching staff. He seemed quite composed in the earlier games but started to make some bad reads in the last couple of games that cost him the trust of the coaches. To the coaching staff's credit they stuck with him and he rewarded them with a key offensive display that turned the game in the favour of the US.

Tyler Parsons

The way he back stopped the US to a Gold medal by virtually shutting the door on the last 23 shots and another 5 penalty shots, has to go down as one of the best clutch goaltending performances in the tournaments history. He strikes me as a keeper that can get on a roll and steal a series or two.

The future is bright.

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#11 freethe flames
January 06 2017, 06:05AM
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The future is bright; about 3 years from now is when we likely see any of these guys at the NHL level with the exception of Kylington who may be ready sometime next year. But the future remains bright as there are a few guys in Stockton who may be NHL ready next year(maybe at the end of this year) in Janko(good luck at the AHL allstar game), Mangiapane, Andersson(RHD) as well as Kulak. Gilles and Parsons could be one heck of a tandem down the road.

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#12 The GREAT WW
January 06 2017, 07:46AM
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@Jumping Jack Flash

"Dillon Dube

I have to agree with the comments stating that Dube's stats in this tournament did not do him justice. I felt he was the engine for team Canada. He made this team based on his energy and it was easy to see how."

Energy guys are important! Guys like Jooris and Hathaway are important pieces to the puzzle. But Neither of them were drafted........

Why do we keep wasting second round picks??!

WW

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#13 cberg
January 06 2017, 08:29AM
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Gfountyyc wrote:

I didn't see who was in the tournament all star team. Was parsons named the goalie?

No, the Swedish goalie was the named All Star.

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#14 gotommygo
January 06 2017, 08:33AM
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Does anyone know why Kylington didn't skate over to accept his MVP award? Was this some kind of snub to the IIHF or something?

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#15 MontanaMan
January 06 2017, 08:52AM
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The GREAT WW wrote:

"Dillon Dube

I have to agree with the comments stating that Dube's stats in this tournament did not do him justice. I felt he was the engine for team Canada. He made this team based on his energy and it was easy to see how."

Energy guys are important! Guys like Jooris and Hathaway are important pieces to the puzzle. But Neither of them were drafted........

Why do we keep wasting second round picks??!

WW

You underestimate Dube's skill level. Admittedly, I had never seen him play before this tournament but I watched him closely. Playing on the fourth line, his ice time steadily increased to a point where he (and his line) clearly had the confidence of the coaching staff. He was excellent at both ends of the rink and although he didn't score, he generated a lot of scoring chances. His skating is exceptional and has enough grit in his game to round him out. I think he's a much different player than Hathaway and Jooris, most notably a much better skater and I believe has a bigger upside. Speaking about refereeing, I agree that Canada benefited from the calls but more importantly (and who would ever think you'd hear this comment from an international tournament), I liked the way the game was called. The refs called the blatant penalties but let the players play. I miss those days in the NHL which has turned into a PP machine, including phantom one hand hooking calls and multiple PP's every period.

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#16 Jumping Jack Flash
January 06 2017, 10:38AM
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The GREAT WW wrote:

"Dillon Dube

I have to agree with the comments stating that Dube's stats in this tournament did not do him justice. I felt he was the engine for team Canada. He made this team based on his energy and it was easy to see how."

Energy guys are important! Guys like Jooris and Hathaway are important pieces to the puzzle. But Neither of them were drafted........

Why do we keep wasting second round picks??!

WW

I guess we draft them so that we can get the inside track on a players potential. Byron was an energy guy who could not score especially on a breakaway and now he takes and scores on penalty shots.

To think that we know a players potential at 18 or 19 is assuming a lot. Dube has not shown much finish but neither did some of the other players that made the team because of their scoring.

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#17 Lucky 13
January 06 2017, 11:40AM
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That was such a nail-biter of a game! It could have went either way, but props to USA for not giving up. Canada boys have no shame in losing this one. This was painful for our boys in red, their hearts were on their sleeves.

It was touching to see these young men crying, Roy, Hart (felt bad for him trying to stay composed in interview) Ingram consoling Hart immediately after shootout.I must admit my eyes were a wee bit moist after all of this display. I'm sure Dubois will be having nightmares about missing that feed from Barzal on the PP.

Kudos to Montreal, they were loud and filled the Stadium to capacity. What more could you ask for support?

Stick tap to Ray Ferraro and Gord Miller. Two of the best to call this game. Ferraro was emotional invested in this one.. love that guy

I'm so proud of our boys and look forward to Buffalo next year!!

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#18 Grayone
January 07 2017, 09:19AM
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Thanks Ari! Good summary.

The 2 defencemen, Chabot and McEvoy were so good. I see them NHL next year.

I can't say that about many others though ... except maybe Kylington later next year. I was frankly surprised how well we defended Keller in the final and DuBois has a ways to go after being such a high pick last draft.

In Parsons, Dube and Fox we have a threesome that hopefully is properly developed. They all did so well in the final game. Parsons truly surprised me.

All the best everyone.

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