It was a good first couple of days for the local products and Bruins prospects at the IIHF World Junior tournament taking place in Ufa, Russia. Dougie Hamilton finished with an assist and a plus-3 and two shots on net in Canadas 9-3 victory over Germany on Wednesday morning. Team Canada goaltender Malcolm Subban also captured the victory with a 25-save effort against the Germans, but the Bruins 2012 first round pick admitted to reporters afterward that he was nervous on the world stage.
"I felt that I was nervous in the first two periods," Subban told TSN. "I talked to Team Canada goalie coach Ron Tugnutt, I calmed down ... It was a matter of stop and set for every shot. The first two periods, I was sliding around too much."
Team Canada coach has indicated that hes looking to ride Subban through the entire tournament, so it would appear that the Bs prospect is a lock to play against a surprising Slovakia team on Friday. There were some questions in Canada about potentially inserting Subbans backup, Jordan Binnington, after the youngster had struggled in the pre-tourney games for Canada, but it would take something extreme for that to happen.
Alex Khokhlachev potted a goal on his only shot of the game, and finished a plus-1 in Russias 3-2 overtime win over Slovakia on Friday as well. He also earned himself some time in the penalty box after throwing a Brad Marchand-style clipping hit in the middle of the chippy contest.
There has been plenty of speculation over the last few months that Bostons Russian second round pick might be headed back to the OHL following the World Junior tournament. Koko struggled in a bottom-six forward role while playing in the KHL over the last few months, and the Bruins clearly wouldnt mind their Russian prospect returning to his North American home with the Windsor Spitfires.
Charlestown native and Bs 2012 third round pick Matt Grzelcyk didnt dress for Team USAs 8-0 beating of Germany, but hes expected to see action at some point in the tourney.
There were several locals involved with Team USAs big victory to kick off their tournament, however.
Providence College goaltender and New Hampshire native Jon Gillies made seven saves in the third period with Team USA already holding a commanding lead, and North Reading nativeHarvard University forward Jim Vesey finished with a plus-1 rating.
Boston College star Johnny Gaudreau finished with five shots on goal and hit the crossbar on a sweet one-on-one move through the legs of a German defender, and showed hell be one of the big offensive contributors in Team USAs efforts. That means there should be plenty of local interest when Team USA and Team Russia face off against each other on Friday morning.