Best WJC goalies you don’t remember
by Andrew Podnieks|01 JAN 2021
Mike Lee had a sensational 2010 World Juniors, helping the Americans to a gold medal.
photo: Jeff Vinnick/HHOF-IIHF Images
Perhaps the greatest appeal of the World Juniors is that it represents a very specific moment in time. The players aren’t necessarily destined to be stars or guaranteed a long and successful career. And when they were 15 or 16, they might have never thought about being good enough to play in the U20. But right here, right now, these are the best 20 players under the age of 20 for each country.

Of course, over 44 years of the tournament, that means some great players had mediocre tournaments and went on to greatness, while others had great World Junior performances and did not go on to greatness.

Herewith is an alphabetical list of the top ten goalies who put in fantastic and memorable appearances at the U20, but never previously or never after did they represent their country at an IIHF event or make a name for themselves in a top domestic league.

Tim Bernhardt (CAN)
Bernhardt shared the goaltending duties equally with Al Jensen for coach Orval Tessier when the U20 was first played in Canada, in 1978. He shut out the Germans in the round robin, 8-0, and posted the two wins over Czechoslovakia, one in that round robin, the second in the medal round. Canada had to settle for a bronze, but Bernhardt never again appeared in a Canada sweater despite a perfect 3-0-0 record and a 2.00 GAA.

Vladimir Gerasimov    (URS)
What more could Gerasimov have done? At the 1979 World Juniors he played the entire tournament except for one period. He won five and tied one is six games, had a shutout, allowed only eleven goals, and led the Soviets to gold. But this was his only IIHF event for his country.

Mike Heinke (USA)    
The U.S. entry at the 1991 World Juniors included Doug Weight, Keith Tkachuk, and Brian Rolston, and Heinke shared the goaling duties with Mike Dunham, who had a very respectable 10-year career in the NHL. Yet it was Heinke who went undefeated here, winning three and tying one and allowing only eight goals, while Dunham won only once and lost twice.

Jonas Karlsson (SWE)    
Tommy Soderstrom had the long career, but Karlsson was letter perfect at the 1989 U20, winning all four games, recording one shutout, and allowing only seven goals. Soderstrom was 2-0-1 this year, and the pair led Sweden to silver, but Karlsson vanished from the IIHF landscape hereafter.

Mike Lee (USA)        
It was only a decade ago that Lee and Jack Campbell shared the goaltending duties for the Americans at the 2010 U20 in Saskatchewan, and, indeed, Lee played in five of the seven games, compiling a 4-0-0 record and 2.50 GAA. Lee was even the starter in the gold-medal game against Canada, but when he allowed three goals in the first 24 minutes he was replaced by Campbell and was never heard of after.

Peter Olsson (SWE)    
Olsson played every minute of every game for the Swedes at the 1994 World Juniors, winning six of seven games and leading the team to a silver medal behind Canada, the only team to beat Olsson. Despite his great play, though, he never played again for his country at an IIHF event.

Mika Rautio (FIN)
Rautio played five of seven games for the Finns in 1983, winning four and tying one. He allowed only 14 goals and was the winning goalie on the final game of the tournament when the Finns beat the Czechs 2-1 to win the bronze medal. Yet that was the last we heard of him.

Yevgeni Ryabchikov (RUS)
Another unsung hero who played every minute of the 1994 U20, Ryabchikov had a 5-1-1 record with one shutout and a 2.43 GAA. The Russians won bronze and he was named to the end-of-tournament All-Star Team, but nothing came after.

Zdenek Smid (CZE)    
In 2000, in Skelleftea, Sweden, the Czechs boasted a roster that included Petr Svoboda, Martin Havlat, and Josef Vasicek—and Smid in goal. He played the entire tournament, compiling five wins and two ties, led the Czechs to gold, and never returned to the blue ice for his country.

Yevgeni Tarasov (RUS)
In 1995 Tarasov was named the IIHF Directorate Best Goalie thanks to a tournament that included a perfect 4-0-0 record. He led Russia to a silver medal, but this was one Russian Tarasov you didn’t hear any more about in the years that followed.