Alex Alexeyev is putting on a show at the World Junior Championship.
Playing for Team Russia, Alexeyev has six points (two goals, four assists) in five games. That ranks second among all defensemen at the tournament and is just two points off the pace set by the tournament’s leading scorers.
The Caps’ first round draft pick from 2018 scored his second goal of the tournament on Wednesday in a quarterfinal matchup against Slovakia. The goal was of the highlight variety as he carried the puck along the boards and cut to the middle so quick, forward Milos Kelemen who was tracking Alexeyev actually fell to the ice.
Alexeyev literally deked a player to the ground.
After Wednesday’s win, Russia advances to the semifinals on Thursday and will play USA.
Russia’s win over Slovakia ended the tournament for another Caps prospect, Martin Fehervary. Fehervary captained Slovakia and also looked impressive throughout the tournament with one goal and four assists in five games.
Both Alexeyev and Fehervary were named All-Stars of the tournament on Monday by TSN’s Craig Button. Of Alexeyev, Button wrote, “His smart, calm and poised puck play in all three zones has been a steadying element for the entire team.”
Button described Fehervary as an “Excellent skater who takes the initiative and drives the play for Slovakia from the defensive zone, in transition and in the offensive zone.”
CAPITALS PROSPECT NOTES:
- The Caps had a third prospect at the junior championship in Tobias Geisser. Geisser was loaned to Switzerland, but has not appeared in any games in the tournament due to an injury concern. It is not yet clear what that injury is.
- Hershey goalie Goalie Vitek Vanecek was selected to the represent the Atlantic Division in the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic. It is the first time he has been selected as an All-Star. Vanecek is 7-7-2, with a .909 save percentage, 2.55 GAA (eighth in the AHL) and one shutout. The AHL All-Star Game festivities will take place Jan. 27-28 in Springfield, Mass.
- Tyler Lewington certainly left an impression in his first NHL call-up. In his second NHL game ever on Saturday, he recorded his first NHL goal, assist and fight for a Gordie Howe hat trick. He is back in the AHL now with the Hershey Bears which is ultimately where his talent dictates he should be, but it’s hard not to be impressed by how he played in his two NHL games. His play may have earned him a call-up for the next injury in the not too distant future.
- Take a guess at who Hershey’s top scorer was for the month of December. It wasn’t Riley Barber or Liam O’Brien, but defenseman Aaron Ness. Ness recorded 13 points in 13 games (1 goal, 12 assists). He leads all Hershey defensemen in points with 19 on the season.
- Goalie Ilya Samsonov turned in arguably his best game of the season on Sunday as he turned aside 22 shots in a 2-1 win over Providence. It was the first time Samsonov had held an opponent to only one goal in the AHL. In fact, he had allowed at least three goals in each of his past seven appearances, going only 1-6-0 in that stretch.
- Axel Jonsson-Fjallby is struggling. Since returning to his SHL team, he has yet to score through 12 games. An article from the Swedish outlet Expressen tried to get to the root of the problem and…well, if what it says is true regarding what Jonsson-Fjallby’s expectations were this season, then Caps fans should be concerned. The translation of the article is rough as it comes from Google Translate, but the gist of it is that he came to North America after a breakout postseason performance in the SHL under the assumption he would be in the NHL. It does not seem like he was expecting to be sent to Hershey. Jonsson-Fjallby has tremendous speed, but the North American game takes some time to adjust to. To think he would simply step into an NHL lineup, especially for a championship team that returned most of its roster, seems presumptive. Hopefully, someone gets in his ear in the offseason and he comes to training camp next season with more realistic expectations for what his role will be and what it will take to get there. I do not foresee him coming back next season and stepping right into the NHL without any time in the AHL.
- Chase Priskie recorded his 100th career NCAA point. Here’s what his head coach, Rand Pecknold, had to say about him: “He’s such a high character person. I think he had a 3.95 GPA last semester. He’s going to graduate with his undergraduate and MBA in six years of schooling in four, you can’t say enough good things about him. He’s been a great captain, obviously having a great year. He’s been our best player this year.”
- Benton Maass has missed the last six games for New Hampshire due to a shoulder injury, but head coach Mike Souza said Maass will return to action this weekend.
- Steven Spinner has missed the last four games for Nebraska Omaha. He is serving a six-game suspension imposed to him by the team for a violation of team rules.
MORE CAPITALS NEWS:
- Caps Mailbag: How to solve top-line woes
- Sitting Out: Ovi sitting out the All-Star game could help Caps in the end
- NHL Ranks: Metro Division stays strong
- Career Year: A celebration of Ovechkin's greatest year