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Blackhawks World Juniors Prospect Update, 1/3: Stjernborg scores GWG for Sweden, Canada (barely) advances

A thrilling quarterfinal for the Swedes.

O Captain, my Captain

All hail Captain Stjernborg.

Sweden 3, Finland 2

The Finns dominated the Swedes for the most of the game — except the last three minutes, when it counted. Finland outshot Sweden 35-20, and were up 2-1 until Sweden tied it up at 56:33. Then, when Sweden needed him most ... Captain Stjernborg was there.

F Victor Stjernborg, Sweden

Stats: 1 G, 0 A, 1 SOG in 16:09 of ice time

Finally! After writing that Stjerrnborg had “a quiet game” multiple times this tournament, Sweden’s captain has scored a goal — and a great, game-winning one at that. With 1:05 left in the third, he picked a puck off a Finnish defender, flew through the offensive zone, and scored through the five-hole. A truly unbelievable effort, and his team went crazy after it. And in true captain form, he was modest and praised his team at the post-game press conference, saying “I think we ended it in the perfect way.”

Canada 4, Slovakia 3 (OT)

Unfortunately for Canada, you can’t win every game 11-1, and Slovakia refused to go down without a fight. The first two periods were sloppy, with a bunch of turnovers and rookie mistakes (you can’t play without a helmet or stick, Clarke). Connor Bedard officially now has the record for most goals and points by a Canadian at the World Juniors, but he looked less dominant than he was at the prior games, just because the play was generally so even. By the end of the third period, Slovakia had tied the game 3-3, and despite Canada crashing the net relentlessly, the game went into OT with Slovakia on the penalty kill. Ultimately, Slovakia couldn’t hold off Connor Bedard, who deked through three players to score, and Canada advanced with a win. To quote TSN— it’s Bedard’s Worlds, and we’re just living in it.

No Hawks prospect grabbed a point this game and Colton Dach’s injury has him out for the rest of this tournament, but keep reading for a closer look at how the ones on the ice fared:

D Ethan del Mastro, Canada

Stats: 0 G, 0 A, 0 SOG in 23:36 of ice time

Del Mastro was everywhere this game: it sounded like every other word out of the announcers’ mouths was his name. He was on ice for Canada’s third goal, after doing some great board work and helping Zach Dean force the puck up to Zack Ostapchuk, who scored. He had a rough play at the end of the second, however, after he slid in an attempt to block a Slovak shot, and the forward easily skated around him and put it in the back of the net. A smart defensive move, but it unfortunately was ineffective. He had a stronger third period, with a great hit, but left the game without a point.

D Kevin Korchinski, Canada

Stats: 0 G, 0 A, 0 SOG in 8:06 of ice time

If you can count on Korchinski for anything, it’s his ability to swipe a puck. He had a strong night, and some of his greatest plays came from picking a puck off a Slovak forward and feeding it back to Connor Bedard. He jumped into offensive rushes a few times, helping to open up space, and was a plus-1 for the game despite not getting a point and only having 8 minutes of time on the ice.

D Nolan Allan, Canada

Stats: 0 G, 0 A, 0 SOG in 14:24 of ice time

The king of the cross ice pass was quiet this game, allowing his d-partner Korchinski to step up on the transitions to offensive plays while he sat at the blue line. He got caught flat-footed a couple times, but luckily for him no Slovak player was able to capitalize on him slipping out of position. And like Korchinski and del Mastro, he did not make an appearance in OT.

Up Next

Sweden will take on Czechia at 1:30 during Wednesday’s semifinal round while Canada follows with a game against the US at 5:30.