Czech goalie Marek Langhammer (CP Images)
No. 1 Star: Marek Langhammer, Team Czech Republic
The notable upset on the day was the Czech Republic's defeat of Team Canada, in a game that raised the eyebrows of many an international hockey observer. As is tradition when Canada gets defeated in an international tournament, it's customary to tip our collective caps towards the opposing goaltender. In this case is was Marek Langhammer, the starting goalie for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League, who was put on display internationally Saturday morning.
The IIHF has the shots on goal at 29-28 through regulation and overtime for the Canadians, but that doesn't seem exactly right. Canada had the better chances through the game, and Langhammer never let the Czechs trail on the day. He stopped Derick Pouliot stopped point-blank twice in the first period, and kept in the game after being run over by Curtis Lazar driving to the net in the third period. He stopped Nic Petan in the shootout, and then stared down the talented Connor McDavid to seal the 5-4 win for the Czechs.
No. 2 Star: Alexander Wennberg, Team Sweden
A strong goaltending performance from Nashville Predators prospect Jusse Saros kept the over-matched Finland in their game against Sweden a little bit longer than they ought to have, and Sweden had just a 3-2 advantage in the third period before a somewhat controversial goal from Alexander Wennberg, the Columbus Blue Jackets' 14th overall selection from the most recent draft. Wennberg circled the zone and fired a long wrist shot from the point, which eluded Saros, but the Finns were up in arms because Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Andreas Johnson appeared to be in the crease before the shot.
However, it counted. It was Wennberg's second tally on the day. After Esa Lindell put Finland up 1-0 just 41 seconds into the game, Wennberg opened the scoring for the Swedish on a two-man advantage 4:15 in. He also assisted on Johnson's 2-1 goal in the second period and was named his team's best player post-game.
No. 3 Star: Matt Grzelcyk, Team United States
The final score of the United States and Slovakia game could be considered a rout—6-3 after 60 minutes to give the USA a 2-0-0-0 record after their first two games. But after a second period dominated by the Slovakians, the US had just a 3-2 lead. Goaltender Jon Gillies was forced to make two big stops at the start of the frame, and the US was just holding on before Boston University Terrier (and Boston Bruins draft pick) Matt Grzelcyk banged home a rebound from a Connor Carrick shot to make the score 4-2 midway through the frame. The States would score twice in the next 7:01 of action to take an obvious advantage.Read More »from World Junior championship 3 Stars: Czechs complete upset with goaltending, Sweden escapes Finland