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Canes Prospects Shine at World Juniors

by Colleen Hamilton / Carolina Hurricanes
Colleen Hamilton

The IIHF World Junior Championship wrapped up on Monday evening with Canada winning their first gold medal since 2009. Hurricanes prospects Lucas Wallmark and Sergey Tolchinsky were offensive threats for their respective teams, finishing as top goal scorers for Sweden and Russia. Here’s a recap of their performances throughout the tournament.

Lucas Wallmark, Sweden

Lucas Wallmark (2014, fourth round) scored four goals for Sweden, tying teammates Oskar Lindblom and Adrian Kempe as the team’s top goal scorers. Wallmark, who served as an alternate captain, also tallied two assists and finished with six points. His dominant performance extended to the faceoff circle, where he had a 58 percent success rate (13th best of the tournament).

The Swedes faced Finland in the quarterfinals, a rematch of last year’s gold medal game. Wallmark gave Sweden the 2-1 lead over the Finns with a power-play goal early in the second period. Sweden went on to win the quarterfinal game 6-3, with Wallmark scoring an empty-netter with four seconds left to play.

Sweden’s victory over Finland led them to face Russia in the semifinals. Wallmark scored a backhand, between-the-legs goal halfway through the third period, bringing the Swedes within two. Sweden eventually fell 4-1 to the Russians, with Wallmark netting their lone goal.

The 4-1 loss to Russia left Sweden playing Slovakia for the bronze medal. Slovakia went up 2-0 in the first three minutes of the game, but Sweden bounced back with two unanswered goals of their own. Sweden ultimately fell to Slovakia 4-2, finishing fourth in the tournament.

Wallmark’s play did not go unnoticed as he was named one of the top-three Swedish-born players (as selected by the tournament’s coaches). The 19-year-old finished the tournament with a plus-3 rating, scoring points in four of Sweden’s seven games.

Wallmark will head back to Sweden and rejoin his Lulea teammates for the remainder of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) season. Wallmark has 13 points (4g, 9a) in his final contract season with Lulea HF.

Sergey Tolchinsky, Russia

Sergey Tolchinsky (2013, free agent) was one of Russia’s top goal scorers, producing four goals and adding one assist. Tolchinsky’s offensive performance included two game-winning goals and one power-play goal.

Russia faced the Americans in the quarterfinals and the Swedes in the semifinals along the way to the gold medal match. Tolchinsky scored early in the third period while the Russians were on the power-play, extending the lead to 3-1. His goal was the eventual game-winner, after the Americans scored halfway through the third period. Tolchinsky’s second game-winning goal of the tournament earned him the title of player of the game.

Russia advanced to the semifinals to meet Sweden after their 3-2 triumph over Team USA. The Russians came out energized after a scoreless first period of the semifinal game, scoring two goals in the second and two more in the third. The 4-1 victory over Sweden sealed their spot in the gold medal game against Canada.

Russia took home the silver medal after battling back and eventually falling 5-4 to Canada. Tolchinsky brought the Russians within two with a one-timer late in the second period, just 32 seconds after teammate Ivan Barbashyov netted a power-play goal. Three minutes later, Tolchinsky set up Nikolay Goldobin to make it a one-goal game. Tolchinsky’s heroics late in the second period energized the Russians, but it was not enough to overtake the Canadians.

Tolchinsky proved to be valuable in all situations for Russia, including the shootout. In their first preliminary game of the tournament, Russia and Denmark went to a shootout to break their 2-2 tie. Russian goalie Ilya Sorokin stopped all three shooters he faced in the shootout, and Tolchinsky had the deciding goal when he put one past Denmark’s goalie Georg Sorensen (his second of the shootout). The 19-year-old prospect had points in four of Russia’s games and tied Lucas Wallmark as the ninth leading scorer of the tournament.

Tolchinsky, with silver medal in tote, will return to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). The Greyhounds currently sit atop their division with Tolchinsky leading the team with 49 points (17g, 32a).

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