World Juniors Preliminary Round Recap

EDMONTON, CANADA - DECEMBER 31: Members of Team Canada and Team USA shake hands during the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championship game at Rexall Place on December 31, 2011 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Team Canada defeated Team USA 3-2. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)


The preliminary round had a lot of surprises, from the Americans' surprising early ouster, the return of the Czechs and Slovaks to the medal rounds, and Sweden turning the table on last year's comeback kings Russia in the final game to claim first in the group. Before we get going, why not just have a look at that epic Sweden/Russia New Year's Eve game, from a totally pro-Swedish perspective:

Here's a quick look back at the games, players of the game and the big scorers so far in the tournament:

Game Date Home Score Visitors Home POG Visitor POG
1 Dec 26 Fi_medium
1 : 8 Ca_medium
Alexander Ruuttu Mark Stone
2 Dec 26 Lv_medium
4 : 9 Se_medium
Nikita Jevpalovs Filip Forsberg
3 Dec 26 Dk_medium
3 : 11 Us_medium
Mathias Bau-Hansen Charlie Coyle
4 Dec 26 Ch_medium
0 : 3 Ru_medium
Tim Wolf Andrei Vasilevskiy
5 Dec 27 Cz_medium
7 : 0 Dk_medium
Tomas Hertl Sebastian Feuk
6 Dec 27 Sk_medium
3 : 1 Lv_medium
Juraj Simboch Kristers Gudlevskis
7 Dec 28 Us_medium
1 : 4 Fi_medium
Jarred Tinordi Sami Aittokallio
8 Dec 28 Se_medium
4 : 3 (SO) Ch_medium
Max Friberg Joël Vermin
9 Dec 28 Ca_medium
5 : 0 Cz_medium
Freddie Hamilton Petr Mrazek
10 Dec 28 Ru_medium
3 : 1 Sk_medium
Andrei Makarov Tomas Jurco
11 Dec 29 Dk_medium
2 : 10 Ca_medium
Nicklas Jensen Brandon Gormley
12 Dec 29 Lv_medium
0 : 14 Ru_medium
Zegmus Girgensons Yevgeni Kuznetsov
13 Dec 30 Us_medium
2 : 5 Cz_medium
Bill Arnold Petr Holik
14 Dec 30 Se_medium
9 : 1 Sk_medium
Erik Thorell Michal Toman
15 Dec 30 Fi_medium
10 : 1 Dk_medium
Miikka Salomäki Patrick Bjorkstrand
16 Dec 30 Ch_medium
5 : 3 Lv_medium
Christoph Bertschy Arturs Kuzmenkovs
17 Dec 31 Cz_medium
0 : 4 Fi_medium
Tomas Nosek Mikael Granlund
18 Dec 31 Sk_medium
6 : 4 Ch_medium
Tomas Matousek Tanner Richard
19 Dec 31 Ca_medium
3 : 2 Us_medium
Brendan Gallagher Jacob Trouba
20 Dec 31 Ru_medium
3 : 4 (OT) Se_medium
Andrei Vasilevskiy Jonas Brodin

After the jump, we'll recap some of the stats through the preliminary round:

Top 20 Scorers
Rk Player Team GP G A Pts
1 Mark Stone Ca_medium
4 7 2 9
2 Nikita Gusev Ru_medium
4 3 6 9
2 Yevgeni Kuznetsov Ru_medium
4 3 6 9
4 Max Friberg Se_medium
4 7 1 8
5 Teemu Pulkkinen Fi_medium
4 5 3 8
6 Ryan Strome Ca_medium
4 3 5 8
7 Jonathan Huberdeau Ca_medium
4 1 7 8
8 Mikael Granlund Fi_medium
4 1 6 7
9 Sebastian Collberg Se_medium
4 3 3 6
9 Miikka Salomäki Fi_medium
4 3 3 6
9 Erik Thorell Se_medium
4 3 3 6
12 Tomas Jurco Sk_medium
4 1 5 6
12 Ludvig Rensfeldt Se_medium
4 1 5 6
14 Brett Connolly Ca_medium
4 4 1 5
14 Charlie Coyle Us_medium
4 4 1 5
14 Joakim Nordstrom Se_medium
4 4 1 5
17 Joel Armia Fi_medium
4 3 2 5
18 Bill Arnold Us_medium
4 2 3 5
18 Brandon Gormley Ca_medium
4 2 3 5
18 Rickard Rakell Se_medium
4 2 3 5
18 Jason Zucker Us_medium
4 2 3 5

"Hands of Stone" is a recurring theme throughout the tournament so far, but its linemate Jonathan Huberdeau who is setting him up most often, and Ryan Strome is cashing in big time as well. Of note, Yevgeni Kuznetsov has zero points against playoff teams in this tournament, while I've deducted one goal from the Sebastian Collberg compared to the IIHF's rankings because they count the game-winning shootout goals as a goal which is quite obviously stupid. Max Friberg is tied with Mark Stone for the goal scoring lead, while Brandon Gormley is the only defenceman to break into the top 20... there hasn't been a standout offensive performer from the blueline as of yet, though Gormley's performance to date is definitely notable.

Goaltending Statistics
Rk Name Team GP Min SOG GA Svs SV% GAA SO
1 Sami Aittokallio Fi_medium
2 120:00 75 1 74 98.67 0.50 1
2 Andrei Vasilevskiy Ru_medium
3 182:44 125 4 121 96.80 1.31 2
3 Scott Wedgewood Ca_medium
2 120:00 58 2 56 96.55 1.00 1
4 Mark Visentin Ca_medium
2 120:00 51 3 48 94.12 1.50 0
5 Petr Mrazek Cz_medium
4 240:00 132 11 121 91.67 2.75 1
6 Juraj Simboch Sk_medium
3 180:00 94 8 86 91.49 2.67 0
7 Lukas Meili Ch_medium
2 113:31 82 9 73 89.02 4.76 0
8 Jack Campbell Us_medium
3 177:36 88 10 78 88.64 3.38 0
9 Tim Wolf Ch_medium
3 130:14 56 7 49 87.50 3.22 0
10 Kristers Gudlevskis Lv_medium
3 177:02 126 16 110 87.30 5.42 0
11 Christopher Gibson Fi_medium
2 120:00 67 9 58 86.57 4.50 0
12 Johan Gustafsson Se_medium
3 186:42 66 10 56 84.85 3.21 0
13 Sebastian Feuk Dk_medium
4 210:21 181 34 147 81.22 9.70 0

Yeah, Sweden is going to need a lot better from Gustafsson in the semifinals and finals, but he leads all goaltenders in the wins statistic despite his dismal performance to date. Goaltending differences definitely stand out as a reason why the Czechs and Slovaks made it over the Americans and Swiss this year. Also, poor Sebastian Feuk... he never stood a chance.

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