The United States forfeited its game Tuesday against Switzerland at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship after two U.S. players tested positive for COVID-19. The game in Group B in the preliminary round was to be played at WP Centrium in Red Deer, Alberta.
Rounding out the goalies is Vikman, who was taken 125th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He’s posted good international juniors numbers in just two games this season, managing a 2.53 GAA and .921 SV% despite his 0-2-0 record.
The 19-year-old has been equally as good with the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Vancouver Giants this season, compiling an 11-4-1 record, 3.12 GAA and .906 SV% in 16 games. Vikman may not be the most celebrated player on Team Sweden’s lineup, but he has the ability to make an impact should the team need him to.
“We’re extremely disappointed, especially for our players,” U.S. general manager John Vanbiesbrouck said. “We’re operating in an ever-changing landscape and that’s very challenging. We’ve followed the tournament protocol from the outset and will continue to do everything we can to ensure our players have the opportunity to compete at the World Junior Championship.”
The result will be a 1-0 win for Switzerland (1-0-0-1), according to IIHF rules.
The United States (1-0-0-1), the defending champion, is scheduled to play Sweden (2-0-0-0) on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN, RDS). The United States has entered quarantine and a determination on that game has not yet been made, according to the IIHF.
The United States defeated Slovakia 3-2 in its tournament opener Sunday.
The Carolina Hurricanes will have an NHL-best 10 prospects playing in the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Among the players participating in the tournament are six of the 13 players they selected at the 2021 NHL Draft, including all three of their second-round picks: United States defenseman Scott Morrow (No. 40), Finland defenseman Aleksi Heimosalmi (No. 44) and Finland forward Ville Koivunen (No. 51).
Hurricanes assistant general manager Darren Yorke said he has been most impressed by the growth Morrow has shown in going from Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minnesota, last season to scoring 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 15 games as a freshman at Massachusetts this season.
“Watching him play high school hockey was like, I don’t know if you’re a ‘Seinfeld’ fan, but Kramer taking the karate class against kids,” Yorke said, referencing a scene where an adult character hilariously dominates younger competitors. “He was so much better than the competition and maybe that raised doubts among other teams or whatnot. We obviously didn’t see it that way. And then he goes and plays [six] games in the [United States Hockey League] (with Fargo) and does the exact same thing. And then he goes to college and does the exact same thing. And now he’s going to go to the World Junior level. And the best predictor of the future is going back to past performances, so I would imagine Scott is able to utilize his skills and have a pretty good impact on Team USA.”
Team Sweden released its final roster for the 2022 World Junior Championship on Wednesday, and while it includes a few familiar faces, it most notably contains six first-round draft picks from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. It’s a tough road to a medal, considering Canada, Russia, the USA, and Finland also have stacked rosters, but don’t sleep on The Swedes, who have not captured gold at the World Juniors since 2012.