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  • 2023 Wild Juniors Day 5 & 6: Spacek, Petrovsky show off


    All the preliminary games have been played and all the teams advancing to the quarterfinals in the 2023 World Junior Championship, have advanced. The six days of games have been an overall blast and has featured some incredibly entertaining hockey.

    And when it comes to the Minnesota Wild prospects that have been involved in them, there have been some invisible performances and then other young players have used this tournament to make a statement.

    Let’s see how the final two days of the preliminary round went for these five guys.

    Servac Petrovsky, Slovakia vs. Latvia, Switzerland

    The very young Slovakian center started out these two games in two days with a fairly silent performance against Latvia, but then decided to show off his stuff against Switzerland.

    Petrovsky was Slovakia’s top center all throughout the tournament and was held without a point in the first three games, but on Dec. 31 against the Swiss, the 18-year-old forward notched two goals that looked almost identical.

    It is certainly one way to demonstrate your 1-on-1 skill and breakaway speed. Just simply score two goals set up perfectly by your teammates and look like it is the easiest thing to do. Plus, he scored these two goals just 49 seconds apart, really killing all hope in his opponents and letting him walk away with a very good game.

    David Spacek, Czechia vs. Germany

    Spacek has been The Guy among Wild prospects in the preliminary round. While others have been drafted much higher and are projected to be better overall players, the 19-year-old Czech defenseman took this opportunity to display his game and ran with it. Coming into Saturday’s game against Germany he had a very respectable four points in three games, but as Czechia went on for a dominating 8-1 victory to cap off this round, Spacek was able to score another goal and another assist.

    With his third goal of the tournament, he is now tied for first among all defensemen with American Luke Hughes and Swede Ludvig Jansson.

    The most impressive part of this is that Spacek had just 14:44 TOI against Germany, a massive decrease compared to other games where he was playing over 22 minutes regularly. This is most likely just letting him rest for the more important games coming up, but hell, he has played just so incredibly well in all three zones and is getting rewarded for it. Mobile, using his stick well; Spacek has some tools that has certainly lifted him into another category among Wild prospects.

    Jack Peart, United States vs. Finland

    Jack Peart was not given any points in this effort over a tough opponent like the Finns, but the swift blueliner was all over the ice. Technically paired with Nashville Predators prospect Ryan Ufko on the third pairing, Peart played almost 20 minutes at 19:50 TOI and had the job of really shutting down some top Finland forwards all game long.

    He was able to get into the shooting and passing lanes easily with his agility and then also made some great breakout passes to help the Americans enter the offensive zone with less of a struggle.

    Honestly, among all his teammates on the blueline, his skating impressed me the most compared to top prospects like Hughes or Lane Hutson. Peart had awareness to be smart positionally, but also had the straight-ahead speed and swiftness to quickly make up for any overall team positional errors. Plus, he’s not afraid to get tangled up on the boards as a slightly smaller defender.

    Overall, the preliminary round might not be something to praise Peart for by just looking at his score sheet, but he demonstrated that his tools are only getting better and he is one hell of an exciting prospect.

    Liam Öhgren, Sweden vs. Canada

    Sweden had the tough task of finishing their preliminary round against the skilled Canadians, and ended up losing 5-1. But we’re not here to recap team performances, we’re talking about winger Liam Öhgren.

    It’s tough to discuss a winger you want to be so successful that was on a team that just got dominated. Canada was all over every single Swedish player almost immediately and Öhgren’s entire team was reduced to taking just 23 shots on goal compared to Canada’s 44. Öhgren himself managed to get two of them in the 17:01 TOI he played and at times, looked like he should have deserved some stronger looks.

    Öhgren has the ability to be a strong complimentary scorer on a line with more skill-focused players, but I guess this Swedish team just doesn’t have that forward depth to really give him that as he was on a line with his typical teammates from his club Djurgårdens, Noah Östlund and Jonathan Lekkerimaki — the latter still recovering from a bad case of mono. Still Öhgren got some offensive looks and tangled up with some Canadian skaters in some decisive battles. He was just left without a point, as did most of his teammates.

    Caedan Bankier, Canada vs. Sweden

    Well, Bankier can say he was at least there for a very strong win. We won’t repeat ourselves in discussing the overall game between these two countries that wrapped up the preliminary round, but the Canadian Wild prospect didn’t have a lot of responsibility in the complete domination.

    Bankier was a cog in the machine that worked the Swedes to the bone, and got three shots on goal in the 13:04 TOI he was given. It is not Connor Bedard’s four assists, and the 19-year-old center was not one of the 11 Canadian skaters that earned a point, but he was just used what a fourth-line center was meant to do and just not let the other team get a lot of scoring opportunities. He did exactly that and was productive in that sense.

    For Monday’s slate of quarterfinal games, Öhgren will be facing archrival Finland in what should be a hell of a game; Spacek will get an opportunity to get some more points in against Switzerland; Peart and the Americans get blow Germany out of the water; and Bankier will play the same role against Petrovsky and the Slovakians.

    We’ll recap that slate of games for you and let you know how all the Wild prospects are doing.

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