December 26, 2013
Three stars from Day 1 of the 2014 world junior championship as chosen by Buzzing The Net contributors:
No. 1 star: Filip Forsberg, Team Sweden
It wouldn't be the world junior with Switzerland, for whom the slipper still fits, pushing an elite U20 hockey power. Sweden got by Switzerland 5-3 in the nightcap from Malmo after Christian Djoos' point shot dented twine early in the third period to permanently untie the contest.
The host got a much needed lift from Forsberg (1G-2A), who factored into two opening-period goals and also earned an apple on Djoos' winner (apple, Djoos, laugh once to get it out of your system). The 19-year-old who's at the tournament on loan from the Nashville Predators carried through the Swiss defence to tie the game in the first just 71 seconds after Switzerland had opened the scoring. Later in the frame, Forsberg fed Pittsburgh Penguins third-rounder Oskar Sundqvist to put his side back on top 3-2.
No. 2 star: Anthony Mantha, Team Canada
Mantha's hat trick in Canada's 7-2 walkover was covered off extensively in prose by Sunaya Sapurji and with YouTube-age. The Detroit Red Wings first-rounder has scored a whopping 85 goals over the last season and a half in the QMJHL. His trifecta on Wednesday included a pair of first-period markers that putthe wind into Canada's sails.
The San Jose Sharks first-rounder copped player of the game honours after helping Switerzerland stay in contact with the tourney's lead dog for more than 57 minutes before falling 5-3 to Sweden. Mueller, the 18-year-old who shines with the WHL's Everett Silvertips, likely played the most minutes of any Swiss defenceman as they had a good accounting of themselves in what stand as their most daunting matchup of the first round. The Swiss were briefly level at 3-all when Toronto Maple Leafs pick Fabrice Herzog, the No. 142 overall pick in June, whacked in a rebound 1:01 into the third. Djoos replied and another Leafs late-rounder, Andreas Johnson, supplied the sealer with 2:47 to play.
The scoreline likely did flatter Switzerland a bit. Goalie Melvin Nyffeler (31 saves) made a big second-period breakaway stop on Washington Capitals prospect André Burakovsky, while Columbus Blue Jackets first-rounder Alexander Wennberg also hit the crossbar during the frame.
Honourable mention: Stefan Matteau, Team USA
The New Jersey Devils farmhand harvested player-of-the-game honours during Uncle Sam's all-hands-on-deck 5-1 win over the Czech Republic. American coach Don Lucia started the Andrew Copp-Matteau-Hudson Fasching line that averages 6-foot-1½ and 207 pounds to set a tone and they used their size and skill to wear down the Czech defenders. Matteau, oddly enough, didn't have a point but the Los Angeles Kings-drafted Fasching scored in the second off a setup by Copp, a Winnipeg Jets fourth-rounder.
Thirteen players recorded for a point for Team USA.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to email@example.com.