Update: World Juniors Preliminary Round Highlights

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IHOCKEY-JUNIOR-USA-NOR / ADAM IHSE/TT/GettyImages
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NHL play has resumed, and to thrilling fashion as the Blackhawks downed the Jets in OT Wednesday night, however the World Juniors has not let up as 6 Blackhawks prospects continue their strong play. With tournanment favorites Canada and USA flexing their might early in the preliminary matchups, it appears that some other contenders are sharpening their play of late.

Team Czechia's 2 premier players Jiri Kulich and Eduard Sale both had hat tricks in an 8-1 win over team Norway on Wednesday. Lukas Reichel's Germany squad (formerly played for) had a huge upset over Finland (a medal contender) 4-3 on the same evening as well.

Team Slovakia, to me, is also looking like a true Gold medal finalist (potentially) as they move to 2-0-0 behind Adam Gajan and a talented forward group. With Gajan, a host of 1st round picks on the roster, and Hawks 2nd round selection Misiak (2 assists last game) I believe that both Canada and USA should be very aware that this team can win it all.

Today, team USA won a thrilling matchup against a good Czechia team looking for the upset. Lightning prospect Isaac Howard wins it with bookend goals as he opened the scoring 1-0 just a minute in and then wins it with the only goal in the shootout (0 for 8 before his winning goal). Frank Nazar (13th pick in 2022 for the Blackhawks) had the primary assist on the Howard goal to start the matchup.

As the tournament begins to winddown, it will be interesting to see how team USA plays against team Slovakia on Sunday. To me, this could be a a final 4 matchup in the making depending on how the rest of the preliminary rounds end.

www.tsn.ca has great coverage of the games, boxscores, and video recaps. Watch the USA - Slovakia highlights below: