The five European countries brought rosters almost exclusively filled with 2000-born players eligible for the 2020 World Juniors while younger players were with the countries’ U18 teams to prepare for the upcoming 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in April in Sweden.
In the country of the defending World Junior Champion Finland it was archrival Sweden that made the most out of it by winning all four games and the trophy.
The Swedes started with a 5-3 win against eventually second-ranked Czech Republic thanks to a strong start with Kevin Wennstrom, Lukas Wernblom and Linus Nassen scoring goals for a 3-0 lead until midway the game. The Czechs reacted and tied it up with markers from Dominik Sklenar, Simon Jelinek and Raded Prochazka. However, 45 seconds later Wernblom scored what would become the game-winning goal for Sweden. The fifth goal from Marcus Karlberg went into the empty net with two seconds left to play.
After an easy 7-0 blanking of Germany and a 6-2 victory against Switzerland the Swedes locked first place in the tournament. The last game against host Finland didn’t have any influence on the standings but the Swedes nevertheless won it 2-1 thanks to goals from Carl Jakobsson and Filip Johansson for a perfect record. Anttoni Honka scored the 1-1 goal for Finland.
Next World Juniors host Czech Republic recovered from two losses against Finland – Eemil Erholtz scored the game-winner in overtime – and Sweden. Thanks to the point against Finland and regulation-time wins against Switzerland (4-3) and Germany (3-2) they took second place. Finland had to settle for third place also because of a 3-2 loss to Switzerland.
Germany and Switzerland finished the tournament at the end of the standings with three points each but Germany winning the head-to-head clash on the opening day 3-2.
Wernblom ended up as the tournament’s scoring leader with five goals and four assists before Czech forward Zdenek Sedlak (5+3). Sweden also led in goaltending with Jesper Myrenberg (93.75%) and Jesper Eliasson (92.45%) taking the first two places in save percentage before Czech netminder Radek Haas (90.79%).
France wins in AustriaAnother U19 tournament in view of next winter’s U20 World Championship program was played in Radenthein in Austria with four Division I countries and France as the winner.
After beating Austria (4-3) and Hungary (8-3), the French needed just one more point against Norway on the last day to secure the tournament win. They got exactly that. France was leading for most of the game thanks to an early goal from Dylan Fabre until Carl Erik Kraabol tied it up at 13:45 of the third period.
Norway needed a regulation time win and pulled the goalie but to no avail. Regulation time ended tied and Sondre Vaaler’s game-winning goal for Norway didn’t influence the standings anymore.
Hungary finished the tournament in third place thanks to a surprising opening day win against Norway. Austria needed a regulation-time win against Hungary to move up to third place but the 3-2 overtime win on the last day wasn’t enough.
|Five Nations Tournament|
|6 Feb.||Turku (FIN)||Germany||Switzerland||3-2|
|6 Feb.||Turku (FIN)||Finland||Czech Rep.||4-3 OT|
|7 Feb.||Turku (FIN)||Sweden||Czech Rep.||5-3|
|7 Feb.||Turku (FIN)||Finland||Switzerland||2-3|
|8 Feb.||Turku (FIN)||Germany||Sweden||0-7|
|8 Feb.||Turku (FIN)||Switzerland||Czech Rep.||3-4|
|9 Feb.||Turku (FIN)||Finland||Germany||6-1|
|9 Feb.||Turku (FIN)||Sweden||Switzerland||6-2|
|10 Feb.||Turku (FIN)||Finland||Sweden||1-2|
|10 Feb.||Turku (FIN)||Czech Rep.||Germany||3-2|
|Standings: 1. Sweden 12, 2. Czech Rep. 7, 3. Finland 5, 4. Germany 3, 5. Switzerland 3.|
|Radenthein Cup in Austria|
|7 Feb.||Radenhein (AUT)||Norway||Hungary||2-4|
|7 Feb.||Radenhein (AUT)||Austria||France||3-4|
|7 Feb.||Radenhein (AUT)||Hungary||France||3-8|
|7 Feb.||Radenhein (AUT)||Austria||Norway||4-5|
|7 Feb.||Radenhein (AUT)||France||Norway||1-2 OT|
|7 Feb.||Radenhein (AUT)||Austria||Hungary||3-2 OT|
|Standings: 1. France 7, 2. Norway 5, 3. Hungary 4, 4. Austria 2.|