Twelve players hit the scoreboard for Team Sweden in their matchup against Team Kazakhstan. The surge of offense was led by their powerplay production, which was able to convert on three of four opportunities on the man advantage. Swedens top players led the way, with Samuel Fagemo again scoring the first two goals of the game for the second game in a row, bringing his point total up to six points in the first three games of the tournament.
Joining Fagemo with a multi-point game was Nils Hoglander, who sits tied with Fagemo at six points to lead Team Sweden, and the two offensive juggernauts now both jump into the top 5 of tournament scoring. Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Rasmus Sandin and New York Rangers prospect Nils Lundqvist both added two assists each from the backend to contribute to the Swede’s six-goal outburst.
While Sweden ultimately dominated the game, they did allow Kazakhstan ample opportunity to grab the lead early into the matchup. If Team Kazakhstan was able to bear down and finish the golden opportunities awarded to them during the sloppy play following puck drop, they could have grabbed a two-goal lead to start this matchup.
Detroit Red Wings prospect Jesper Eliasson got the start for the Swedes and looked good despite posting a 0.890 SV% and allowing two goals against on just 19 shots. Beating him on Team Kazakhstan was Oleg Boiko on an unassisted goal to strike for Kazakhstan, along with Maxim Musorov, who added his fourth goal of the tournament.
Team Sweden was able to get good reps on their powerplay against Kazakhstan. The three powerplay goals not only helped lead Team Sweden to a win but has lead them to now posses the number one powerplay at the World Juniors with a 42.86% success rate. Special teams will undoubtedly be a weapon for Team Sweden heading into the elimination rounds, as they now hold the top spot in both powerplay percentage and penalty kill percentage among all teams at the 2020 World Juniors. If their special teams can continue to dominate, it could be the difference that allows them to compete for their first gold medal in over eight years.
Despite their best effort to climb back into the game by Kazakhstan, Team Sweden had control throughout the entirety of the game, and there was never any doubt that this would be a matchup they would lose. With the loss, Team Kazakhstan heads to the regulation round.
After winning their 51st straight round-robin game at the World Juniors, Team Sweden now has their eyes set at finishing atop of the Group A standings and position themselves for a deep run into the elimination rounds. A win against Team Slovakia on New Year’s Eve would solidify Team Sweden as the leaders of Group A heading into the second stage of the World Juniors and keep their undefeated streak in the preliminary rounds alive.
Photo Credit – Tre Kronor (Twitter)