The 2022 summer edition of the World Junior Championship has officially commenced, and after the Czechs beat the Slovaks and Team Finland beat the Latvians, Team USA squared off against Team Germany. The Americans start the tournament as the reigning gold medalists at this tournament. Meanwhile, the Germans are a long shot to win but always have some high-end talent to monitor.
The opening frame was all Team USA. Team Germany was in their defensive zone the entire time, and they found themselves shorthanded twice. The pride of the New Jersey Devils' prospect group, Luke Hughes opened the scoring on Team USA's 15th shot on net with a seeing-eye shot:
A few minutes of play would roll on, most of which featured Team Germany chasing the Americans around the sheet. The US simply looked to be on a another level. The frustration showed early after German D Bennet Rossmy crushed Chicago Blackhawks prospect Dominic James with a big hit in the corner. Rossmy was assessed a five-minute major and a match penalty:
Team USA would score just 1:44 into the powerplay when Matt Coronato (CGY) made a brilliant play to find this summer's 3rd overall pick Logan Cooley for USA's second tally:
The second would look an awful lot like the first, as the Americans scored two quick goals to open the period. First, Landon Slaggert scored from a tough angle after a pair of desperation saves from German netminder Nikita Quapp:
Quapp was shelled with 30 shots through the first 27 minutes, and he looked to be in great form until the third goal. After that, he was visibly shaken and the US wasn't taking the foot off the gas:
As the period drudged on, the Germans kept the Americans at bay for most of the middle frame. Team USA would add another as Riley Duran took a routine shot from far out, but Quapp was just not up to the task:
The Americans would conclude their rout of Team Germany with a resolute third period in which they suffocated the opposition. Goaltending was a major concern heading into this tournament for Team USA, but Kaiden Mbereko stopped everything he faced at 5v5 and cruised to victory. The only puck to get by Mbereko was off the stick of Joshua Semansky after a highlight reel goal:
That wouldn't bring Germany nearly close enough, as Team USA proved too strong a match. By a final score of 5-1, Team USA closed out the Germans in their opening match of the tournament and outshot their opponents 50-11. Nate Leaman's group looks forward to their match against Team Switzerland on Thursday. Whereas the Germans will look to brush this defeat off and rebound against Team Austria on Wednesday.
Players of the Game:
USA: D Luke Hughes (NJD) - 1g-1a-2p
Germany: F Yannick Proske