Denmark 2, Switzerland 1
New York (The Draft Analyst) — Soeren Nielsen and Mathias From scored in the third period to help Denmark oust Switzerland 2-1 on Sunday at the 2016 World Junior Championships from Helsinki, Finland.
The loss was the second straight for the Swiss, who likely need to win each of their remaining games against Canada and the United States to avoid the relegation round in consecutive years.
Nielsen, whose had a goal waved off during a second-period power play from a crease violation, converted a 2-on-1 at the 1:17 mark of the third with a wrist shot over Swiss goalie Joren van Pottelberghe’s glove. From, who made a nice backhand pass to Nielsen on Denmark’s first goal, scored the eventual game winner when he won a battle in the crease with Swiss defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler and swatted a loose puck past van Pottelberghe at 6:20 of the final period..
Goalie Thomas Lille made several key stops after Switzerland grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal by Noah Rod. Rod opened the scoring at 11:39 of the opening frame when he tipped home a wrist shot from defenseman Edson Harlacher. But Lille stopped several scoring chances from Florida Panthers’ draftee Denis Malgin and Dario Meyer‘s second-period breakaway to keep the Danes within a goal after 40 minutes.
Lillie made 22 saves to pick up the win, while van Pottelberghe stopped 20 shots in defeat.
LW MATHIAS FROM (2016 Draft Eligible/1997): From may be one Denmark’s younger players, but he was pretty close to unstoppable in his WJC debut against the Swiss. He made a gorgeous backhand lead to Alexander True which led to a quality chance, outraced his man to tip a Jonas Roendbjerg centering feed on goal, and blew past Jonas Siegenthaler with some nifty stickhandling during what was essentially a two-on-four zone entry. His most impressive play of the night came in the form of a three-zone burst through five opponents, culminating in a clean break which he shot way wide of the short side. He later victimized the aforementioned Siegenthaler when he outmuscled him to win a loose-puck battle on the eventual game winner.
C ALEXANDER TRUE (2016 Draft Eligible/1997): An overage pivot who plays a key role for the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds, True centered From and they clicked from the initial drop of the puck to the final whistle. He’s a big kid (6’5), but he moved really well while showcasing some patience and soft hands.
RW JONAS ROENDBJERG (2017 Draft Eligible/1999): Top prospect for the 2017 Entry Draft who didn’t look like a deer-in-the-headlights 16 year old. Roendbjerg, who has been tearing up the Danish junior circuit, made an immediate impact in his WJC debut, feathering a cross-ice backhander to an onrushing From for a goal-mouth tip-in that was turned aside. He would later pick up a point with a nice bank pass on Nielsen’s game-tying goal.
C DENIS MALGIN (Florida 4th/2015): Maybe it’s better for the Swiss if Malgin had a poor game, because they seem to lose whenever he’s their best player. I mean, we’re not trying to correlate Sunday’s defeat to Denmark with Malgin’s omnipotence. It’s more like identifying how Switzerland’s supposed depth wasn’t up to snuff for the second game in a row. Nevertheless, Malgin was both strong and decisive on the puck, sliding and gliding through the Danes like a hot knife through butter.
RW TIMO MEIER (San Jose 1st/2015): Meier had a really subjective game; calling it weak or strong can be challenged. What we can say with absolute certainty is that he was not the best player for the Swiss — that distinction goes to the aforementioned Malgin. Meier’s best chance was in the dying seconds of regulation when Pius Suter set him up for a cross-ice one-timer. which he fired perfectly to the long side but thwarted by a Thomas Lille pad. Meier took a seemingly high hit by Mathias Lassen at the buzzer, and he reacted as if he was struck by a 30 millimeter anti-armor round. In retrospect, the game being over made the theatrics unnecessary.
G JOREN VAN POTTELBERGHE (Detroit 4th/2015): Switzerland’s goaltending from the Under-18 level on up has been much maligned in 2015, and the blowout loss to Sweden in the opener reinforced the trend. It’s been a while since the Swiss could lean on a goalie to keep them in a game, and van Pottelberghe did so for almost periods. Of course, he lost sight of the puck for a split second with a light screen, and the ensuing wrister from the right circle beat him clean on the long side. Lucky for van Pottelberghe, the goal was waved off due to a skate in the blue paint. His rebound control was pretty good, and his side-to-side quickness seems to have improved despite exposing an open cage on a wraparound which hit the post. We can, however, fault him on Nielsen’s tying goal — it was a 2-on-1 and he thought he played perfectly by challenging the shooter outside the crease and leaving no room except a tad on the high glove side, which is exactly where Nielsen beat him.