After coming off a tough loss against Sweden in their most recent game, Team Austria will face yet another tough opponent in this tournament. Today’s matchup includes Austria going up against the powerhouse that is Team United States. This is the United States’ third game of the tournament at the 2022 World Junior Championship since being postponed from December. It is a matchup that Team United States should win in a dominant fashion. While we all hope for David to beat Goliath, a lot will need to go right for Austria and a lot will need to go wrong for Team United States.
2022 World Junior Championship
United States vs Austria
The first game on today’s schedule includes a perennial contender for gold up against a team that is often at the bottom of the pack. It’s a clearly United States-favoured game. If Austria is going to have any chance of keeping the game competitive then they will need to come out playing at their absolute peaks. Team United States is chalked full of talent and it’s going to be a difficult game for the Austria team.
Team United States
When evaluating teams to win the tournament, the United States team is one of the first ones brought up. They have a deep roster with NHL calibre players on it. There should be no question about the calibre of team that the United States has. This game for Team United States should be more to continue to gather information about how their players interact with one another and figure out details before medal games.
Players to Watch
There are so many big names to watch from Team United States it’s hard to list them all. However, there are a few really stand-out players to keep an eye on. The first is Luke Hughes. Hughes is a top prospect for the New Jersey Devils and has already been able to put up five points through just two games this tournament. His skill is indisputable. His skating is a treat to watch, being very mobile and generating space that has allowed him to rack up the points so far.
Another player of note is Arizona Coyotes top prospect Logan Cooley. Cooley is one of the most skilled players to come out of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. His excellent skating paired with his incredible stick handling make him one of the most dangerous threats in the offensive zone on Team United States. His playmaking ability is incredible, but he also excels in just about every other aspect of the game.
Holding a 2-1 lead after the opening 20. #WorldJuniors 🇺🇸
Logan Cooley (from Jack Peart & Hunter McKown) got the first on the power play. Red Savage (from Tyler Kleven & Carter Mazur) added a second in the final minute of the period.
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) August 5, 2022
Finally, Matthew Knies is a player to watch. While he’s been held off the scoresheet so far through two games, his size and scoring ability are sure to shine through at some point this tournament. It’s not a question of “if”, but rather “when”.
Austria has a really tough game ahead of them. They are coming off of the first half of a back-to-back. Austria just took a bad loss to a good Sweden team. Now they are up against an arguably better team today. The situation does not look bright. They will need to play a nearly flawless game to keep it close. It will be an interesting game for Austria if they can show some resilience after a 6-0 loss to Team Sweden, though.
Players to Watch
A name to watch on Team Austria is goaltender Sebastian Wraneschitz. He does the best he can given he faces approximately 45+ shots per game, the same was also true before the 2022 World Junior Championship was postponed in December. The goalie is typically the most important member of the team, and this is especially true for this game. They are a team that gives up a lot of shots going up against one of the best teams. Team Austria will need their goalie to be at their peak.
As mentioned before, everyone loves a good David beating Goliath story, however, those are few and far between. On paper, Goliath wins every time. There’s always that sliver of hope Austria can pull together a miracle game. However, this game should be convincingly Team United States victory.
Prediction: Team United States wins 9-0.