It was an eventful penultimate day of round robin action for Flames prospects today, as five of six – six! Eetu Tuulola is officially playing for Team Finland, at long last – were in action. Linus Lindstrom and the Swedes faced Switzerland, Tuulola made his debut and he and Juuso Valimaki faced off against Adam Ruzicka, while Dillon Dube and the Canadians ended their round robin much earlier than normal with a rout over the Danes. Adam Fox and the Americans had the day off.
Sweden beat Switzerland 7-2
Linus Lindstrom had his typical quietly good game. He didn’t hit the scoresheet at all, but he played 14:39 of responsible two-way hockey – more than any Swedish forward aside from Elias Pettersson, Alexander Nylander or Lias Andersson. He had a shot on goal, but he led the way at the faceoff dot with nine wins in 14 draws. Lindstrom’s emerging as a reliable, dependable glue guy for the Swedes in this tournament.
Finland beat Slovakia 5-2
Like the Sweden game, this one was close until the FInns began to pull away in the third. Juuso Valimaki played the second most of any Finnish player (only Miro Heiskanen played more) and while he didn’t factor onto the scoresheet at all, neither did Slovakia when he was on the ice. He finished the game plus-1.
Eetu Tuulola was added to the Finnish roster on Saturday morning and suited up effectively in place of Rasmus Kupari, who was on the Finnish lineup but didn’t play. He played the second least of the Finnish players, but he finished plus-1 with a shot and two faceoff wins. He didn’t look out of place at all.
Slovakia’s Adam Ruzicka had an eventful game. He was on the ice for four of the five Finnish goals. For most of them he was just an innocent bystander, on the ice while somebody else’s gaffe led to a puck in the net. On the fourth goal, he won a defensive zone faceoff and drew the puck back… right through his goalie’s legs. On Slovakia’s second goal he made a nice play off an offensive zone faceoff, winning the draw and cycling the puck to the opposite side of the net – he was given a secondary assist on the play. Ruzicka played the second most of all of Slovakia’s players (only defender Vojtech Zelenak played more) and he ended the game minus-2 with two shots.
Canada beat Denmark 8-0
(This Dube writeup brought to you by Ari.)
The question in this game wasn’t whether Canada would win, it was by how much. Of Canada’s eight goals, Dube was on the ice for just one of them (and, if tertiary assists were a thing, he’d have one for it). Though Dube didn’t actually get any points, he was still his usual tenacious, speedy self, rang a shot off the post, officially was credited with two shots on net, and drew a penalty, but also took one for interference. The interference call was the result of a developing feud with Joachim Blichfield, who heaped a bit of unnecessary abuse on Dube as he was getting off the ice during a penalty kill; Dube retaliated a few minutes later with a hard, completely unnecessary hit away from the play. He was eighth in forward ice time with 13:45 played. Team Canada spread the minutes around as the blowout took full effect, so while Dube played in all situations, that diminished as the game went on.
With the win, Canada clinched first place in Group A. They won’t be in action again until Jan. 2, when the quarterfinals will be played.