After eight months of waiting, the 2022 World Junior Championship is back this summer! With two games ahead of this one, a battle between hockey powerhouse United States and Germany will close out the first day of this summer’s tournament.
2022 World Junior Championship Predictions
United States vs Germany
The third and final game on today’s schedule sees the defending champion United States go up against a dark horse squad in Germany. Germany is without their country’s top prospects, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be a hard opponent in each game they play. The group B matchup is the first game to happen in the group and will close out an action-packed first day. The United States has a stacked team with the country’s top prospects all looking to repeat their 2021 success.
Team USA sees some of the sport’s best prospects iced on the same roster. Stacked with talent from the NCAA and top juniors leagues across North America, this team is loaded with talent. Strong forwards, equally skilled defence to match, the team is well rounded. Unlike the gold medal roster, their goaltending will be the weakest part of the roster. Chicago Blackhawks goalie prospect Drew Commesso opted out of the tournament, leaving a hole in the lineup. The team’s defence will have to step up and play to their strengths to make up for the goaltending.
Players to Watch
A few players stand out among their peers this time around for the United States. Defenceman Brock Faber, for example, is expected to lead by example on the ice. Faber, a prospect in the Minnesota Wild system, is probably the team’s best defenceman. The right-shot blue liner will need to step up and play some of the best defence he’s played. His skating is strong, as is his ability to shut down the rush, so it shouldn’t be too hard for him to do.
Up front, the Americans have plenty of talent to keep an eye on. Luke Hughes, currently playing for the University of Michigan, is one of those players. A skilled winger, like his older brother Jack Hughes, Luke will have plenty of support throughout the lineup. Logan Cooley, Matthew Coronato, Matt Knies, and a handful of other top prospects to be drafted recently will play major roles in the American offence. Expect each of these guys to show out against Germany and showcase the raw talent they all possess.
Germany might not have nearly as much star power as their opponents do, but that’s not to say they are without good players. The offence might not be the best, but the blue line is incredibly versatile. The group, led by Edmonton Oilers prospect Luca Munzenberger, will make it hard for America to create cohesive offensive rushes. They’ll surely be punching up in this game, but Germany won’t be pushed over so easily.
Players to Watch
Munzenberger will lead the blue line this summer for Germany. The University of Vermont defenceman will be a workhorse for the German team and look to create meaningful play from the blue line. Centre and current Washington Capitals prospect Hakon Hanelt will rest on his 22 games of professional experience and lead the forward group. Alexander Blank, a returning member of this past winter’s roster, will look to do the same.
A much closer matchup than many might anticipate, expect this game to be even at the start of the game. Once the United States gets comfortable, however, they’ll take an early lead and hold on to it until the final horn sounds. It won’t be a blowout game, but the talent that the United States has will be too strong for Germany to contain for too long in the final game of day one of this summer’s tournament.
Prediction: USA takes their first win of the tournament, winning 5-2.