Teams get ready for World Juniors
by Andrew Podnieks|24 DEC 2022
8,724 fans watched Canada’s win against Finland at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax last night.
photo: Trevor MacMillan / Hockey Canada
Prior to the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, the ten participating teams held their camps and played 12 games in the host provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

18 December in Truro: Germany 5-Slovakia 0
Simon Wolf stopped 33 shots for the shutout while Philipp Krening had a goal and two assists for the winners. The Germans scored twice in the first and added two more in the second, and were a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. Meanwhile, three of Germany’s goal came with the extra man, and Veit Oswald had three assists.

19 December in Moncton: Canada 6-Switzerland 0
The gold medallists in August started their pre-season with a vengeance, firing 42 shots at Kevin Pasche and jumping into a 1-0 lead just 1:41 into the game on a Joshua Roy goal. Captain Shane Wright had two goals and an assist and linemate Connor Bedard had three helpers. Thomas Milic stopped 19 shots for the shutout. 

19 December in Quispamsis: United States 5-Finland 2
A disappointing 5th-place finish a few months ago meant the Americans came to Canada’s East Coast with something to prove. They got off on the right foot despite falling behind early to Finland on a Jimi Suomi goal at 5:44. Jackson Blake tied the game late in the period and the U.S. blew the game open with three unanswered goals in the middle period. Logan Cooley, the 3rd overall selection by Arizona at last year’s draft, closed out the scoring in the final minute.

20 December in Antigonish: Austria 4-Germany 3 (OT)
Finn van Ee scored 1:50 into the overtime to give the Austrians a stunning win over Germany. After an absence of more than a decade, the Austrians are playing in their third straight U20, but they have a very unenviable record they’d like to end. In their U20 history, five appearances and 27 games – they have yet to win a game. This friendly went to OT when Germany mounted a terrific challenge, scoring twice in the final 88 seconds to tie the game, 3-3.

20 December in Halifax: Czechia 6-Latvia 3
Undrafted Gabriel Szturc of the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL had two goals and an assist, including the game winner midway through the third period. Both teams used two goalies, Latvia’s Karlis Mezsargs the busiest, stopping 17 of 20 shots over the first two periods. Gustavs Ozolins, who also played at the 2022 World Juniors, had a goal and assist for the losers.

21 December in Moncton: United States 5-Sweden 1
The Americans steamrolled Sweden at the Avenir Centre, breaking open a 1-1 game with the only three goals of the second period. The U.S. outshot their opponents, 34-16, and opened the scoring on a Luke Hughes goal midway through the first. Drafted 4th overall by New Jersey in 2021, Hughes is expected to be a vital part of the team’s offense. Sweden’s only goal came from Fabian Lysell later in the period to tie the game.

21 December in Moncton: Canada 6-Slovakia 1
Canada dominated again, outshooting Slovakia this time, 47-17, including 23 shots in a two-goal second period. Slovakia’s only goal was an own goal by Canada early in the third, spoiling the shutout for Benjamin Gaudreau. Specials teams were of significance to this result as the Slovaks were 0-for-5 with the extra skater while Canada was 2-for-6. Six players scored for the winners.

22 December in Bouctouche: Germany 6-Latvia 3
Latvia was the better team for much of the game, but Germany managed to score half a dozen goals on just 27 shots. Ryan Del Monte had two goals for the victors and Martins Lavins had a pair for Latvia, which went 0-for-7 on the power play. Lavins opened the scoring, but Luca Hauf tied it soon after and the Germans never looked back. Nikita Quapp, who is 0-0-3 in his U20 career, was impressive in goal for the winners.

22 December in Halifax: Switzerland 4-Czechia 2
Lorenzo Canonica scored short-handed early in the second to open the scoring for the Swiss, their first of three goals in the second that led them to victory. It was the final tuneup for Czechia, which finished with a win and two losses as they try to improve on last year’s 4th-place finish. Four players scored for Switzerland, the last, from Brian Zanetti, into an empty net.

23 December in Halifax: Switzerland 4-Sweden 3 (OT)
The Swiss completed a successful exhibition series thanks to an Attilio Biasca goal 4:12 into overtime. More impressive, they trailed Sweden 3-1 heading into the third but rallied to tie the game with two goals midway through the period. Biasca had three points in the game (2+1) at his “home ice” in Halifax where he normally plays for the Mooseheads to give the Swiss a second straight win after a blowout loss to Canada to start. The Swedes ended with an 0-2 record after winning the bronze last August.

23 December in Truro: Slovakia 5-Austria 1
Although the teams scored 21 seconds apart late in the first, Slovakia pulled away with the only three markers of the second to earn their second exhibition win against two losses. Simon Nemec had four assists for the victors while Servac Petrovsky had a pair of goals. The game featured 17 minor penalties, nine to Austria and ten in the second period alone.

23 December in Halifax: Canada 5-Finland 3
A re-match of the gold-medal game in August saw a game full of excitement and intensity, and for the first time fans got to see Connor Bedard at his best. He scored a go-ahead goal in the second, almost connected on a lacrosse goal early in the third, and then wired his second goal of the game later in the period for the game winner in an impressive performance. The hosts outshot Finland, 45-22, in a game that featured a scoreless first period followed by five goals in the second. Niko Huuhtanen had a goal and assist for the Finns.

Exhibition Results Summary
Canada 3 0 17 4
United States 2 0 10 3
Switzerland 2 1 8 11
Germany 1 1 8 4
Czechia 1 1 8 7
Austria 1 1 5 8
Slovakia 1 2 6 12
Finland 0 2 5 10
Sweden 0 2 4 9
Latvia 0 2 6 12