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Photo Credit: Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images

CanucksArmy World Junior Recap: Sweden 3 – 2 Slovakia

A ridiculously skilled D-group, a stacked top line, strong depth throughout the forward lines, and a goaltender who made his pro debut in 2015-16 – what else do you need to be the world’s best junior team? The answer is ‘nothing.’

Yet, Team Sweden didn’t dominate Slovakia as much as one might expect. Slovakia had already beat Team USA in the preliminary round, so they know they can even beat the favourites.

It took Sweden until the second period to get a lead, which 2018-eligible Isac Lundestrom got his team on the board within seconds.

Even more impressive, New Jersey Devils prospect Fabian Zetterlund’s highlight-reel goal to make it 2-0, still early in the second period.

But, the game was far from decided.

Slovakia’s captain Martin Bodak – an undrafted defenceman currently playing for the WHL Kootenay Ice – got his team on the board. Lundestrom then added his second of the night, and Bodak did the same to make it 3-2.

The Slovaks fought hard to tie it but couldn’t pull off another upset. The final score was 3-2.

But, Slovakia derserves a lot of respect for what they did at this tournament. They beat Team USA and gave Sweden an incredibly hard time as well.

Notes

Timothy Liljegren (2017 TOR 1st)

We are getting to a point where I really wish Timothy Liljegren had been drafted by the Vancouver Canucks. Not fifth overall instead of Elias Pettersson but, you know, in addition.

Liljegren had an outstanding game and was arguably Sweden’s best defenceman.

He also got his third major hit of the tournament, proving those wrong who called him too soft heading into the 2017 draft.

Tim Soderlund (2017 CHI 4th)

Chicago Blackhawks prospect Tim Soderlund is always one of Sweden’s most noticeable forwards because of his speed and high-intensity style of play. In this game, he also displayed excellent vision when he set up Lundestrom for Sweden’s third goal of the night.

Soderlund is an early 1998-born prospect and was passed over in the draft once before the Blackhawks picked him in the fourth round in 2017. If he can use his speed, skill, and effort level to compete with bigger players at the NHL level, Chicago got an exciting player late in the draft.

Martin Bodak (2017 undrafted)

Martin Bodak scored both of Slovakia’s goals, which is noteworthy for multiple reasons.

One, he’s undrafted. Two, he’s a defenceman. And three, his goals were extremely pretty and displayed a strong skill-set.

Here’s his first of the night.

Bodak has one goal and 12 points in 30 WHL games so far this season. With his strong showing at the World Juniors and a solid season in Kootenay, he might be able to land on teams’ draft lists for 2018.

  • Remember when people on here used to compare the Leafs and Canucks and say they may have us in the forwards but at least the Canucks had the better outlook for defence!

  • I still think the Canucks have the better defence than Leafs the Canucks problem is not the defence as the forwards are not keeping the puck in the other end and are lax on the back check of which Sedins could be the worst as they just can’t catch up. Our forwards just need to be better at keeping procession in the other teams end.