The Vancouver Canucks’ contingent at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship will be coming away without a single medal between them.
Canucks prospects Jonathan Lekkerimäki and Elias Pettersson recorded one assist each on Thursday as Team Sweden fell 8–7 in overtime against Team USA in the bronze-medal game at the World Juniors.
Lekkerimäki, the Canucks’ first-round selection in the 2022 NHL Draft, picked up the primary helper as Filip Bystedt (SJ) got the Swedes on the board early in the second period.
Through seven games at the tournament, Lekkerimäki registered four points (one goal, three assists).
Pettersson, who went two rounds after Lekkerimäki in last year’s draft, helped set up a go-ahead goal by Noah Östlund exactly four minutes into the third period.
The 18-year-old defenceman racked up three assists in seven games with Team Sweden in Moncton and Halifax.
Thursday’s game between the United States and Sweden was a back-and-forth affair in every sense of the word, with the Yanks blowing 2–0, 3–1, 5–3, and 7–6 leads before finally putting the game to bed after regulation time.
American forward Chaz Lucius (WPG) capped off a hat trick in overtime to clinch the bronze for his team. Logan Cooley (AZ), Jimmy Snuggerud (STL), Rutger McGroarty (WPG), Luke Hughes (NJ), and Ryan Ufko (NSH) also put together multi-point outings for Team USA.
Three Canucks prospects represented their respective countries at the 2023 World Juniors. Team Finland goaltender and Canucks 2021 fifth-round pick Aku Koskenvuo could only watch on January 2 as the Swedes knocked out his team in the quarterfinals.
With the bronze game now in the books, two teams remain vying for gold at the 2023 World Juniors. And while there aren’t any Canucks prospects on either side, North Vancouver’s own Connor Bedard is sure to be a force as Team Canada attempts to defeat Team Czechia at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax on Thursday evening.