The 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship is just around the corner, as the annual junior showcase runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in the Czech Republic at Werk Arena and Ostravar Arena.
The Islanders have two prospects competing in this year's World Juniors representing Team USA. Oliver Wahlstrom and Jacob Pivonka received the nod to represent the Red, White and Blue. This will be Wahlstrom's second trip to the World Juniors, and the first for Pivonka.
See below for a World Juniors primer, as well as Team USA's schedule. Stay up to date with our World Juniors Tracker.
With an experienced resume at the international stage, Wahlstrom was named an alternate captain for the 2020 WJC squad.
Last year, Wahlstrom and Team USA took home a silver medal, as Team USA fell to Finland 3-2 in the Gold Medal game. Through seven games, Wahlstrom had four points on two goals and two helpers.
In his first season of professional hockey, Wahlstrom has nine points (3G, 6A) through 20 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Wahlstrom also made NHL debut with the Islanders on Oct. 14 and played nine games through Nov. 7.
"It's a big stage," Isles Head Coach Barry Trotz said of Wahlstrom attending WJC. "I think you get a lot of confidence from that. He's been there, he's a veteran player. It's a tremendous tournament. With all the number of people we have in Bridgeport, they have close to 30 guys. It made sense to give an opportunity on a big stage and be playing."
The Isles' 2018 first rounder (11th overall) also won a gold medal at the 2017 IIHF U-18 World Championship and earned a silver at the 2018 U-18s. At U-18s, Wahlstrom scored seven goals in seven games. The winger also represented Team USA at the 2017 U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Wahlstrom spent two seasons in the US National Team Development Program from 2016-18.
Prior to attending the University of Notre Dame, where Pivonka is now a sophomore, the center spent two seasons in the US National Team Development Program from 2016-18. The Isles' 2018 fourth rounder (103rd overall) helped Team USA claim silver in the 2018 IIHF Under-18 World Championship in Russia. Pivonka had two assists through seven games.
In his sophomore season with Notre Dame, Pivonka has eight points (4G, 4A) through 17 games.
Group A: Finland, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland
Group B: Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Russia, United States
OTHER PROSPECT NEWS:
The Isles Russian prospects Anatoly Golyshev and Ilya Sorokin had strong showings this past week over in the KHL.
Golyshev scored his fourth goal of the season for Avtomobilist who defeated Amur 3-0 on Dec. 17. Golyshev opened up scoring with his second power-play goal of the season. Through 22 games this year, the Isles' 2016 fourth rounder (95th overall) has 12 points (4G, 8A).
Avtomobilist and Golyshev are ranked eighth overall with 49 points and a record of 15-11-12.
Sorokin recorded his fifth shutout of the season on Dec. 19 as CSKA defeated SKA Saint Petersburg 1-0. Through 24 games this season, the Isles' 2014 third rounder (78th overall) has a record of 15-7-2, a .937 SV% and a 1.48 GAA.
Sorokin and CSKA are ranked second overall in the KHL with 57 points and a record of 23-8-5. Sorokin's five shutouts are the second-most in the KHL.