In keeping with tradition, this week’s edition of the prospect update will focus on players representing the Ottawa Senators at the 2023 World Juniors. The Sens have four players at the tournament this time around. All four have already played at least one game and a couple of them have games scheduled today. So while we recover from last night’s nail-biter against Boston and prepare for tomorrow’s game against Washington, let’s talk WJCs.
Tyler Boucher (USA)
In their first game of the tournament, the US defeated Latvia 5-2 with three unanswered goals in the third period. Latvia’s netminder Patriks Berzins deserves a lot of credit for making 41 saves on the 46 shots faced in this uneven matchup. Playing middle-six minutes for coach Pecknold, Boucher managed just one shot on net but more importantly stayed out of the penalty box. We’ll see if Boucher opens things up a bit more now that he has game one under his belt.
Up next: USA plays Slovakia today.
Tomas Hamara (CZE)
I hesitate to call it an “upset” given the talent of this Czech team but winning game one against team Canada certainly caught our collective attention. Again, goaltending came up big in this one with Tomas Suchanek stopping 36 of 38 to allow the Czech team in front of him to work their magic. Hamara played third pairing minutes, registering one shot and taking a roughing penalty in a game that got particularly chippy once the upstart Czechs established their three-goal lead midway through the second frame.
In the Czech’s 9-0 romp over Austria, Hamara saw much more ice-time and added two more shots on goal while once again going without a point. Hamara took another minor in this one (for interference) in what turned out a rather animated third period (animated considering the score).
Up next: Czechia plays Sweden tomorrow.
Zack Ostapchuk (CAN)
In Canada’s first game of the tournament, the aforementioned loss to Czechia, Ostapchuk played bottom-six minutes, taking no shots on net and just two faceoffs. We’ll see if coach Williams redistributes the workload among his forwards after losing game one. Canada obviously has a lot of scoring potential on their top lines but will look to shore things up defensively to prevent another mishap like they had on Monday.
Up next: Canada plays Germany today.
Oskar Pettersson (SWE)
In game one, Pettersson contributed to Sweden’s barrage against that hapless Austrian squad with the 11th goal of the game while also getting an assist on Sweden’s shorthanded goal in the second period. Petterson had two shots to go with his two points while playing fourth-line minutes in a game that probably won’t end up teaching us much in the long run.
In a much closer second game (German netminder Nikita Quapp made an absurd 43 saves on 44 shots to keep it interesting) Pettersson failed to register a shot or a point and again played bottom-six minutes in a very sound defensive performance by the Swedes who got the shutout despite a lot of penalty trouble.
Up next: Sweden plays Czechia today.