Photo credit:Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds
Samuel Honzek scores in Slovakia’s tournament-opening win over Czechia (and other Day 1 World Junior notes)
By Ryan Pike2 months ago
The 2024 edition of the IIHF World Junior Championship tournament began in Gothenburg, Sweden on Tuesday with four games. Among them: the return to the event of Calgary Flames prospect (and Slovakia forward) Samuel Honzek, whose 2023 tournament was cut short due to injury.
Honzek had a goal and an assist in a 6-2 Slovakia victory over Czechia.
Honzek watch: How did Slovakia do?
Slovakia opened up the tournament in the early game. After a fairly tentative first 8-12 minutes, where Czechia scored first and really carried play, Slovakia bounced back and took over the game.
After trailing 1-0 after one period, Slovakia out-scored Czechia 2-0 in the second period and 4-1 in the third period en route to a fairly definitive 6-2 victory over their western neighbour. The many, many Slovakia power plays and scoring chances in the second period tilted the game their way on the scoreboard, but
Honzek lined up for Slovakia on the third forward line (alongside Juraj Pekarcik and Peter Repcik), and also was used on his club’s second power play and penalty kill units. He was on the ice for five of Slovakia’s six goals, zero of Czechia’s two goals, and made a nice neutral zone play that led to a penalty shot for Repcik.
Honzek scored Slovakia’s third goal, which served as the eventual game-winner, by going to the net and sliding in a loose puck in the blue paint after the initial shot by Martin Misiak squirted through Czechia goaltender Michael Hrabal. He was also given an assist on Slovakia’s sixth goal, making a patient pass after entering the offensive zone (and waiting for his teammates to arrive) to set up Pekarcik’s initial scoring chance before Maxim Strbak scored on the rebound.
Honzek’s stat line read like this: one goal, one assist, plus-3, with one shot in 16:12 of ice time. (He was seventh among Slovak forwards in ice time.) Considering this was just Honzek’s sixth game of the season, as his season’s start was delayed by an injury suffered in Flames pre-season action, he had a very effective tournament-opening showing.
Canada beat Finland by a 5-2 score [Group A]: A slew of Canadian penalties kept this game close in terms of shots, but not quite in terms of goals. Canada received goals from Nate Danielson, Owen Allard, Macklin Celebrini, Matthew Poitras and Maveric Lamoureux en route to their victory. Aleksanteri Kaskimaki and Jere Lassila responded for Finland.
The United States beat Norway by a 4-1 score [Group B]: Out-matched on paper by a fairly significant margin, Norway hung in there for the first half of this game before the floodgates opened with the first American goal 29:59 in. Jimmy Snuggerud, Gavin Brindley (twice) and Isaac Howard all scored for the United States, while Petter Vesterheim responded for Norway.
Sweden beat Latvia by a 6-0 score [Group A]: File this under “They are who we thought they were.” Sweden controlled this game from puck drop and received goals from Anton Wahlberg, Filip Bystedt (twice), Jonathan Lekkerimaki (twice) and Felix Ungar Sorum in the win.
A look ahead
- 4 a.m. MT: Slovakia vs. Switzerland (Group B)
- 6:30 a.m. MT: Finland vs. Germany (Group A)
- 9 a.m. MT: Norway vs. Czechia (Group B)
- 11:30 a.m. MT: Latvia vs. Canada (Group A)
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