Plymouth, Mich. – Day two of games from the 2023 World Junior Summer Showcase took place here tonight at USA Hockey Arena with USA Blue earning a 4-1 win over Finland and USA White completing the sweep with a 10-1 victory over Sweden.
The event serves as an evaluation for athletes seeking to make their respective national teams for the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship, set for Dec. 26, 2023 – Jan. 5, 2024, in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Below are brief recaps from today’s games.
USA Blue 4, Finland 1
USA Blue jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the opening period with Paul Fischer scoring from three feet above the left circle at 6:38 and Gavin Brindley banging one home from the top of the crease just 1:20 later. Jacob Fowler made eight saves in goal for the U.S., with a stop on Tommi Mannisto from the bottom of the right circle among his best.
Gabe Perreault staked the U.S. to a 3-0 advantage with a power play marker at 7:11 of the second period off a feed from Will Smith. Lenni Hameenaho got Finland on the board at 8:16 before the U.S. re-gained its three-goal advantage when Danny Nelson put one in from the goal mouth with James Hagens earning an assist on the play.
The third period included seven of the game’s 10 minor penalties, but no scoring. Fowler stopped the three shots he faced in the period and picked up the win with 17 saves in 60 minutes of action. The U.S. outshot Finland, 24-18.
USA White 10, Sweden 1
In the second game, USA White had a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Ryan Leonard and Rutger McGroarty combined on an odd-man rush at 8:22, with McGroarty showing great patience and delivering a perfect cross-ice pass from the bottom of the left circle to Leonard who put home his first goal of the Showcase. The other marker in the period came with 1:37 left when William Whitelaw wristed one home after a feed from Lane Hutson.
The U.S. put up the first four goals of the middle frame and led 6-1 after two periods. Eric Pohlkamp scored after a faceoff win by Frank Nazar at 4:58 to make it 3-0. Nazar had the puck deflect off his skate and in with the U.S. on the power play at 7:38 for the first of his four goals on the night, then took a drop pass from Isaac Howard at 11:35 and fired one into the back of the net from the left circle. Hutson came out from behind the net and put home the sixth U.S. goal while on the power play at 13:42, with Jimmy Snuggerud and McGroarty drawing assists. Anton Johansson scored from the high slot on a five-on-three power play at 17:42 for what would be Sweden’s lone goal of the contest.
Cutter Gauthier and Nazar both scored twice in the third to account for the 10-1 final. All total, 13 different players put up points in the contest for the U.S., which outshot Sweden by a 36-23 count.
Trey Augustine played the first two periods and had 13 saves in picking up the win. Hampton Slukynsky, who had an assist in the contest, stopped all nine shots he faced in the final 20 minutes.
Games Continue Wednesday
Game action in the World Junior Summer Showcase resumes on Wednesday (August 2) with Sweden facing Finland at 1 p.m. ET followed by the USA White vs. USA Blue matchup at 4 p.m. Tickets are available online here or at the USA Hockey Arena box office. All games from the WJSS are streamed live on USAHockeyTV.com.
(USA Hockey Photos)