3 things learned at Day 6 of World Juniors

Day 6 results

Switzerland 4, Slovakia 3 (SO)
Czechia 8, Germany 1
United States 6, Finland 2
Canada 5, Sweden 1

What We Learned on Day 6

Dionicio’s delivery

Rodwin Dionicio (2023 NHL Draft eligible) transitioned to defense four seasons ago while playing in his native Switzerland, but that didn’t mean he lost his flair for some offensive swagger.

The 18-year-old, who plays with Niagara of the Ontario Hockey League, proved it in the 10th round of shootout when he flicked a one-handed (right) shot through the five-hole in a 4-3 upset of Slovakia at Avenir Centre.

“I actually saw that move before from the Nashville Predators camp over the summer,” Dionicio said. “Joakim Kemell did it at camp. I saw it and I just took it off from him and it worked, so that’s all that matters.”

Dionicio said he practiced the move Friday not knowing he’d have to pull it off a day later.

“I actually didn’t practice the move a lot, but I tried it out [on Friday] and I was confident with it,” he said. “I just decided to go with what works.”

Dionicio has seven points (four goals, three assists) in 17 games this season with Niagara, which selected him No. 18 in the 2021 Canadian Hockey League import draft.

“I played forward four years ago with Bern in Switzerland’s junior division, so this is my fourth year on defense and that’s why I always have the offensive mindset,” he said. “It was a really long shootout, so I took the opportunity for my team, and it was pretty cool in the end.”

Star Spangled magic

United States linemates Cutter Gauthier (Philadelphia Flyers), Logan Cooley (Arizona Coyotes) and Jimmy Snuggerud (St. Louis Blues) are proving to be quit a handful for the opposition at the World Juniors.

The three had their best showing of the tournament when it mattered most, combining for eight points (two goals, six assists) in a 6-2 win against Finland at Avenir Centre. Snuggerud, who plays right wing, led the way with four points (one goal, three assists). Cooley, the center, had three points (one goal, two assists).

Snuggerud and Cooley are teammates at the University of Minnesota.

“I thought they were excellent,” United States coach Rand Pecknold said. “I think a big thing for them was we were rolling four lines most of the night (against Finland). So when they were getting on the ice, they were fresh, they were energized, and their shift lengths were excellent. They were changing on time and getting rewarded for that when they get out there. They’re getting out there against tired players and they’ve got a lot of jump in their step.”

Snuggerud (four goals) and Cooley (two goals) are tied for the team lead with seven points each and Gauthier, a freshman at Boston College, is third (five assists).

Pecknold said Gauthier has been one of the more pleasant surprises throughout the tournament.

“Cutter’s been great in terms of, obviously, he’s an elite talent, but I’ve been really happy with his buy-in,” Pecknold said. “He’s doing the things we need, with structure and some of our retrievals, so I’ve been really happy there.”

Goaltending goodness

The eight countries that qualified for the quarterfinal round all have one thing in common — goalies capable of stealing a game.

At the top of the list is Finland’s Jani Lampinen (1.00 goals-against average, .933 save percentage in two games), who will likely face Sweden’s Carl Lindbom (1.74 GAA, .941 save percentage, four games) in that quarterfinal showdown.

Look for Germany’s Nikita Quapp (2.02 GAA, .951 save percentage, three games) to face US goalie Trey Augustine (1.67 GAA, .925 save percentage, three games), who, at age 17, is the youngest of the group and a first-year eligible for the 2023 draft.

Slovakia’s Adam Gajan (1.95 GAA, .939 save percentage, three games) is expected to face Canada’s Thomas Milic (1.21 GAA, .938 save percentage, three games), and Czechia’s Tomas Suchanek (1.49 GAA, .932 save percentage, four games). ) will likely work opposite of Switzerland’s Kevin Pasche (2.21 GAA, .893, three games).

On Tap for Day 7

Quarterfinal Round Monday

All games on NHL Network in US, TSN in Canada

Finland vs. Sweden (11 am ET) — Each team is coming off a disappointing loss on the final day of the preliminary round: Finland lost 6-2 to the United States, Sweden 5-1 to Canada. Sweden leads the tournament in penalty-kill percentage (93 percent; 14-for-15) and is led by forwards Filip Bystedt (San Jose Sharks; five points, two goals) and Isak Rosen (Buffalo Sabers; four points, two goals) and defenseman Ludvig Jansson (Florida Panthers; six point, three goals).

Finland will need to pick up the pace on offense as it ranks fifth in the tournament in goals (12) and fifth on the power play (18 percent; 2-for-11). Forward Sami Paivarinta (2023 NHL Draft eligible) is the only player with at least four points, and there are four with at least three points, including Nashville Predators prospect Joakim Kemell (two goals, one assist). “Our loss against the US was like a wake-up call; we all saw what happened,” Finland coach Tomi Lamsa said. “That’s the level where we have to get to now, when all these best teams are left. This is the level we need to find and it means we need to take a few more steps right direction against Sweden.”

Czechia vs. Switzerland (1:30 pm ET) — Czechia earned the top seed in Group A after an 8-1 win against Germany on Saturday, marking the first time it finished first in pool play since 2001. Czechia ranks second in the tournament in goals (24) and has been led by forward David Spacek (Minnesota Wild; six points, three goals) and defenseman Stanislav Svozil (Columbus Blue Jackets; six points, one goal). “We have a lot of players who play in the CHL and on small rinks and I everybody knows how to play in specific areas of the rinks and that helps a lot,” Spacek said.

Switzerland, meanwhile, won all three of its games in extra time and is confident bunch after a 4-3 shootout win against Slovakia on Saturday. “We showed everyone we can beat the big countries … it doesn’t matter who we play,” Switzerland defenseman Rodwin Dionicio said. “We’re going to stick to our system, play our game. We’re going for it.” Switzerland forward Attilio Biasca (2023 draft eligible) has two goals, four points and averages 23:25 of ice time.

United States vs. Germany (4 pm ET) — The United States, third in the tournament with 19 goals, finished first in pool play for the second straight year; it lost to Czechia in the quarter final round at the 2022 WJC. The United States has been bolstered by a puck-moving defense corps that includes Luke Hughes (New Jersey Devils), tied for the tournament lead for goals (three) by a defenseman, Sean Behrens (Colorado Avalanche), Ryan Ufko (Nashville Predators) and Lane Hutson (Montreal Canadiens). Forward Logan Cooley (Arizona Coyotes) has a point in every game for the United States and is tied for third in tournament scoring with University of Minnesota teammate Jimmy Snuggerud (St. Louis Blues) with seven points.

Germany has scored the fewest goals (eight) and has the lowest power-play percentage (6.25 percent) of the eight teams that qualified for the quarterfinals. “It’s a big thing for Germany to be in the quarterfinals, but we’re not done yet,” said Germany captain Bennet Rossmy (2023 draft eligible). “I think we can move on if we just work hard, put pucks on the net, and do the little things right.”

Canada vs. Slovakia (6:30 pm ET) — Canada leads the tournament in power-play goals (12) and power-play percentage (57 percent). Forward Connor Bedard, the projected no. 1 pick in the 2023 draft, has either scored or assisted on 17 of Canada’s past 27 goals (five goals, 12 assists) and leads the tournament in goals (six), assists (12), points (18) and a plus-11 rating. The record for most points in a single World Juniors was set by Hockey Hall of Famer Peter Forsberg at the 1993 WJC (31 points in seven games). Bedard is two points from becoming the seventh player in WJC history to reach 20 points (Forsberg, Markus Naslund, 1993; Raimo Halminen, 1984; Robert Reichel, 1990; Vladimir Ruzicka, 1983; Esa Keskinen, 1985). “Bedard’s confidence level is through the roof right now and the key in this game is having confidence and having a positive mindset,” Canada forward Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers) said. “He takes everything super easy at such a young age. He’s going to be an outstanding NHL player in the future. He’s lighting up a tournament right now that’s hard to light up.”

Canada forward Logan Stankoven (Dallas Stars) ranks second in tournament scoring with eight points (two goals, six assists). Canada captain Shane Wright (Seattle Kraken) has six points (three goals), and defenseman Olen Zellweger (Anaheim Ducks) has five assists.

Slovakia won 6-3 against the United States in round-robin play and ranks second in power-play percentage (44 percent; 4-for-9). Forward Filip Mesar (Montreal Canadiens) has scored five points (two goals) and defenseman Simon Nemec (New Jersey Devils) has four points (one goal) while averaging 26:33 in ice time.

Quick left

World Junior Championship predictions

Group A preview

Group B preview

World Juniors Championship rosters

Tournament schedule

Lists: New episode of NHL Draft Class

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