Mon Dec 27 09:37pm EST
BUFFALO — Buzzing The Net is selecting 3 Stars each day during the world junior championship:
No. 1 star: Dominik Riecicky, Slovakia
Apparently placing their netminders in the country's top pro league leaves them tested for whatever junior shooters can dish out.
Riecicky, 18, made 47 saves to help Slovakia prevail 2-1 over Germany in overtime. He did much of his best work early on, particularly in the first period when he faced down Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Tom Kuhnhackl on a penalty shot, waiting him out and making a pad save. He also came up with a save on a point-blank shot late in the third after Tobias Rieder, the 17-year-old who plays for the Kitchener Rangers, created a golden opportunity with a nifty behind-the-back pass on a 3-on-2.
Without Riecicky, Germany probalby wins going away. Instead it has one point after two games with games left vs. the U.S. and Finland. Hello, relegation round.
No. 2 star: Philipp Grubauer, Germany
The Washington Capitals prospect played likely his best game at the WJC since 2009, when as a then little-known Belleville Bulls rookie backup, he stymied a loaded Team Canada. He had 37 saves, including a pad save on Marek Hrivik just moments before the Slovakian forward scored the game-winner with 1:21 left in OT.
Grubauer was also responsible for Germany being in overtime in the first place. Late in the second period, he came up with three great saves to keep the score at 1-0, including a pad save on Andrej Kurdma, who had basically walked through a nonexistent German defence. A few minutes later, Norman Hauner tied the game for Germany, setting up a great finish.
No. 3 star: Antonin Honejsek, Czech Republic
The Moose Jaw Warriors forward dropped the hammer on Norway, scoring a backbreaker short-handed goal in the third period to point the Czech Republic to a 2-0 Group B win. The shortie, which opened a two-goal lead, came just 26 seconds after Adam Sedlak's head-checking minor/misconduct gave Norway a chance to get back in the game, at least ostensibly. Honejsek was in on both Czech goals, assisting on Tomas Rachunek's second-period goal.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.