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Blackhawks World Juniors Prospect Update, 1/5: Assist for del Mastro as Canada beats US, Swedes out

Bye, Sweden :(

Canada v Sweden: Group A - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

After Sweden’s loss, the only Blackhawks prospects that could wear gold are the Canadians.

Canada 6, USA 2

After falling behind 2-0, the Canadians stepped up in the second period by scoring four goals en route to the win. It was a very competitive game — as most USA/Canada games are — and there were plenty of scrappy moments. A major point of contention was how the referees revoked two US goals after review for goaltender interference (see here and here), which the TSN commentators described as “awful, awful, awful calls.” Very little of the game was played in the neutral zone, as both teams were able to exchange rushes and keep the puck in their respective offensive zones. By the end of the second period, Canada led 4-2 before adding two more in the third — including an empty netter — to end the game at 6-2, but the Americans really dominated most of the play in the final 20 minutes.

Check out how the Blackhawks prospects played below:

D Ethan del Mastro, Canada

Stats: 0 G, 1 A, 0 SOG in team-high 27:45 of ice time

Del Mastro really stepped up this game, and immediately started strong— after the US took an early lead in the first period, del Mastro skated the puck down the left wall in the offensive zone, drawing US attention, before feeding it across the slot to Connor Bedard who (of course) buried it in the back of the net. I could get used to seeing that pairing. He had a physical game, getting into a couple scraps, but it’s a refreshing alternative to his typical ‘well-behaved assistant captain’ vibe, even as he got two penalties. Overall, it felt like he was on the ice for every goal (Canada and the US), and his confidence and consistency seem to be improving throughout the tournament.

D Kevin Korchinski, Canada

Stats: 0 G, 0 A, 0 SOG in 4:28 of ice time

Korchinski had a quiet first two periods. He’s typically a more offensively focused blue-liner, yet he had very little playing time in the first two periods, and did not have a point or a shot to his name, seeming to lack his usual luster. As Canada entered the third period with a two-goal advantage, Canada felt it important to keep a strong back line, and Korchinski was noticeably absent from the ice.

D Nolan Allan, Canada

Stats: 0 G, 0 A, 0 SOG in 14:26 of ice time

Allan got some more ice time this game, which he used to send some clean cross-ice passes. Overall, the second defensive pairing was strong with Allan and Brandt Clarke. Allan didn’t produce any points, but he was able to stymie some of Team USA’s relentless rushes. He got a penalty in the third period for roughing, after the US attacked a loose puck at the net and things got scrappy.

Czechia 2, Sweden 1 (OT)

Although they had a strong defensive first period and an early second-period goal, Sweden fell to Czechia in overtime. The Czechs tied the game with 39 seconds to go in the third, forcing overtime, and then grabbed the game-winning goal with 50 seconds left in OT. Interestingly, the only team the Czechs lost to in the group stages was Sweden, so this triumph takes on a special meaning. And despite the “We love IKEA” sign in the crowd, Sweden will have to end their tournament in the bronze-medal game.

F Victor Stjernborg, Sweden

Stats: 0 G, 0 A, 2 SOG in 17:25 of ice time

Goodbye, Captain Stjernborg, who was ultimately unable to re-create his game-winning goal heroics from last game against Finland. He had a couple strong rushes in the first period and during OT, but failed to get Sweden a point in the competitive semifinal.

Up Next

Sweden will play the US for the bronze medal on Thursday at 1:30, and Canada will rematch the Czechs for the gold medal game on Thursday at 5:30.