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World Juniors: Golden Knights Prospect Plays Major Role In Team USA Upset

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Vegas Golden Knights Draft Matyas Sapovaliv (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights via Twitter)

We have now entered the semifinal rounds for the 2022 World Junior Championship. Four countries remain, but the United States is not one of them.

In a shocking upset on Wednesday night, Team Czechia beat Team USA 4-2 to send them home early and ruin their chances of winning back-to-back championships.

Team USA started the scoring with Arizona Coyotes no. 3 pick in the 2022 draft Logan Cooley taking advantage of a bad goaltending turnover from Czechia.

Montreal Canadiens prospect and Czechia captain Jan Mysak then tied the game at one with a point shot. New Jersey Devils Petr Hauser then gave Czechia the lead in the second period.

Here’s where the Golden Knights come in. Midway through the second period VGK prospect Matyas Sapovaliv scored with a simple wrist shot that USA goaltender Kaidan Mbereko would love to have back.

Sapovaliv was the Golden Knight’s first pick in the 2022 NHL Draft at no. 48 overall in the second round. He is an 18-year-old  6-foot-3 and 183-pound center.

He most recently played for the Saginaw Spirit in the 2021-22 season. There he scored 18 goals and 34 assists for 52 points in 68 games played.

Team USA came back to make things interesting in the third, with Carter Mazur making it a one-goal game, but Jiri Kulich sealed the upset for Czechia with an empty-net goal.

Here are the highlights.

Six countries have now been eliminated from the tournament.

Jakub Demek, a Golden Knights 2021 fourth-round pick, was eliminated from the tournament with Team Slovakia. He finished the tournament with one assist in four games.

The quarterfinal matchups between Team Canada and Team Czechia and then Team Sweden and Team Finland will be played on Friday. Golden Knights prospect Lukas Cormier will take on Sapovaliv and Czechia at 2:00 pm Finland and Sweden will play at 6:00. The Gold and Bronze games will be played on Saturday.

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Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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