2022 World Junior Championships Predictions: Team USA vs Switzerland

2022 World Junior Championships
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Welcome to the 2022 World Junior Championships predictions. Each day, Last Word on Hockey will take a look at each game and give our predictions of the results. Tuesday, December 28th is a lite day for the tournament with only two games. Our first featured game of the day is Team USA vs Switzerland.

2022 World Junior Championships Predictions

Team USA vs. Switzerland

This will be the second game for each team in round-robin play in Group B. Team USA had a day off after a tough hard-fought victory over Slovakia 3-2 on the opening night of the tournament. For Switzerland, they get another juggernaut in Team USA on back-to-back days. Switzerland lost 4-2 to Russia to open their Group B play on Monday. Switzerland will have their hands full with Team USA. Team USA knows they survived Slovakia and will want to play better against Switzerland. The goal for Switzerland is to get a point or get Team USA to overtime or the shootout. But Switzerland will be looking to games later on in the group with hopes of getting back for the quarterfinals. Team USA on the other hand will look to send a statement to the rest of the group as they look to play a full 60-minute game.

Team USA

As previously mentioned Team USA had to hold on to defeat Slovakia by a score of 3-2. Team USA jumped out to a 3-0 with goals from Matt Knies, Mackie Samoskevich, and Landon Slaggert. Drew Commesso stopped 23 of 25 shots against Slovakia and was named player of the game. He definitely earned that moniker as USA was outshot by Slovakia 14-11 in the third period. Team USA took their foot off the gas pedal allowing Slovakia back into the game. Something they will want to improve on going forward in this tournament. That seemed to be echoed throughout the coaching staff and players in their post-game press conference. Team USA’s penalty kill which was an issue in their pre-tournament game against Finland was 3-for-4 against Slovakia. That will need to continue as this tournament progresses.

The Americans are being led by the six returnees from a year ago. They include captain Jake Sanderson, Matty Beniers, Brock Faber, Tyler Kleven, Brett Berard, Slaggert, and Commesso. Sanderson led all defensemen with 22 minutes in ice time. He will be carrying the load for USA on the backend. Another player on defence to keep an eye on is New Jersey Devils prospect Luke Hughes. Hughes had a solid first game wearing the USA sweater. Upfront it will be scoring by committee. Unlike previous years, there really is not a standout that will light the lamp consistently. Again the big thing for Team USA is to make sure they finish off Switzerland when they have them down.

Switzerland

Team Switzerland will have an uphill climb in Group B. Lucky for them there is no relegation again this year at the World Juniors, so they will be at the tournament again next year. Without having a pre-tournament game, it showed in their game against Russia. It also does not help to have one of their best players in Simon Knak, not on their roster, and their thin roster got a lot thinner. In order for the Swiss to have any chance in this game against the Americans, head coach Marco Beyer has to put a good solid defensive game plan together to frustrate their opponent. Switzerland will have to keep the crease clean as well. That will nearly be impossible against Team USA.

Switzerland will have to find offence hard to come by. They really do not have any standouts this season that you can point to that will carry the offence. Again it will come down to goaltending and playing tight defence. That is what worked well in the past for Switzerland. Switzerland is in tough as they fight for the fourth seed in Group B.

Prediction

This will be a good game for Team USA to find its mojo and get into the tournament. Again they do not want back habits to creep in with Russia and Sweden left in the round-robin. But Team USA should roll over Switzerland. Team USA have 21 of the 23 games against Switzerland at the World Juniors with two ties when there were ties. They have outscored them 131-45, that number should go to 22 of 24 games.

Prediction: USA 10-1 

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