The US World Juniors team played their second exhibition game together tonight against Germany in Kingston, Ontario. The US built a comfortable 4-0 lead after two periods, and while the third period was a bit rocky, they were able to hang on for a 5-2 win over the Germans.
Goal scorers for the US tonight were: JT Compher, Tyler Motte, Miles Wood, Zach Werenski, and Anthony Louis.
Wood's goal was a nice one where he finished off a nice pass on a 2-on-1 for a goal. Wood was one of the players coming into tonight that was on the bubble and putting one in the net had the help his chances.
Zach Werenski also showed why he has gone from possibly on the bubble heading into camp to being a lock for the team with a very pretty goal tonight. He stickhandled around two Germans at the blue line then fired a nice shot into the net.
The US will play one more exhibition game on December 23rd in Kingston against Sweden, before beginning tournament play on December 26th.
I also had the opportunity to watch Canada take on Sweden tonight(I plead the Fifth on how) for a little tournament pre-scouting. Here were my thoughts on that game:
-Canada completely dominated the first period and built an early 2-0 lead. Sweden rebounded with a strong second period, but couldn't close the gap at all thanks to an iffy goal for Canada. Canada was the better team in the third period.
-Connor McDavid played in his first game since November 11th when he broke his hand. It wasn't all that strong of a game for him. Most of the night, he looked more like David McConnor than Connor McDavid. But that's to be expected after his long layoff, and I doubt he stays like that for long. He should be ready for New Year's Eve. Even on a night that he struggled, he showed some flashes of why he's such a special player.
-Canada looked very much like a typical Canada team. Nothing fancy in the offensive zone; they just wanted to get pucks and bodies to the net. They kept things very simple on the power play, just getting the puck to the front of the net and hoping to win battles there. They had a lot of crease violations, goalie interference penalties, and close calls where they collided with the Swedish goalie.
Is that good or bad considering what the US will likely have on defense? Size shouldn't be a big issue on the US defense. But Canada is going to force any team they face off against do a lot of work in front of their own net. Stopping them is doable, but definitely not easy.
-Overall, I wasn't that impressed with the Swedes. Swedish goalie Samuel Ward struggled all night. Their defense was big, but a little bit slow. And there's not a lot of offensive depth. Sweden didn't do a lot 5on5 offensively. Sweden isn't in the US group, so they wouldn't meet until the quarterfinals at the earliest, but the Swedes don't look like a major threat for the medal round this year.
-Minnesota's Leon Bristedt saw some time on the penalty kill, but didn't appear to play on the power play. He was pretty quiet most of the night, and likely won't play a huge role for this Swedish team.