The Calgary Flames are represented by four players split between Slovakia and Sweden at the 2019 World Junior Championship. The Flames representatives faced a split result in a pair of close games on the first day of round robin play.
United States 2, Slovakia 1
The Slovakians played a smart, tight-checking game against the high-octane American offense. For the most part, they did a good job cluttering up passing and shooting lanes.
The game was even early on, with a 7-7 tie in shots in the first period. But the Americans adapted and gradually took over the game, out-shooting Slovakia 27-7 the rest of the way. The Slovakians led 1-0 through 40 minutes, but the Americans scored twice in the third period to capture the victory.
None of the three Flames prospects on Team Slovakia scored, but they all had pretty decent games overall:
- Milos Roman was plus-1 and played 17:59 (fourth among forwards) on the first line.
- Adam Ruzicka was even with one shot in 17:48 (fifth among forwards) on the second line.
- Martin Pospisil took a penalty, drew a penalty and was even with one shot in 16:10 (seventh among forwards) on the second line
(The ice-time discrepancy between Ruzicka and Pospisil was special teams time.)
Slovakia really leaned on their top two lines, and the trio of Flames prospects did a solid job not getting victimized by America’s scoring prowess.
Sweden 2, Finland 1
In probably the most high-tempo, entertaining game of the day, Sweden and Finland put on a fast-paced two-way hockey clinic. Sweden got a pair of power play goals and then hung on for the win.
Flames prospect Filip Sveningsson was on the fourth line for Sweden, so he played the second-least of all of their forwards at just 8:48. That said, he was used in a defensive role and did a good job clearing the zone, cutting off lanes, and was trusted enough by the coaches to be out on the ice with Finland pressing with an empty net late in the game. It’s a different role than he’s used to, but it’s a key one.
Up next: Sweden plays Slovakia at 4:30 p.m. MT on Thursday evening.