Prospects News & Rumors: Zegras, Byfield & Podkolzin

On Day 5 of the 2021 World Junior Championship, three players dominated the headlines and led their teams to big victories. First, Anaheim Ducks prospects Trevor Zegras took over the tournament scoring lead with a five-point night. Los Angeles Kings prospect Quinton Byfield followed suit with a dominant six-point effort in Canada’s 10-0 victory over Switzerland. Finally, Vancouver Canucks prospect Vasily Podkolzin led Russia to a 7-1 victory over Austria with two goals and one assist.

Zegras Dominates For Team USA

Team USA kicked off Day Five searching for their second win of the tournament against the Czech Republic, who pulled off an impressive 2-0 win over Russia in their last game. The game started slowly as both teams tried to figure each other out and remained scoreless after the first period. The following 40 minutes saw the USA completely take over. Philadelphia Flyers prospect Bobby Brink opened the scoring early in the second period, and he grabbed his second of the game near the end of the period.

Trevor Zegras Anaheim Ducks 2019 NHL Draft
Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks, 2019 NHL Draft (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Team USA’s next five goals, en route to their 7-0 victory, were all scored with help from Ducks prospect Trevor Zegras. The 2019 ninth overall pick scored his fourth goal of the tournament and USA’s second of the game and added his fifth early in the third period to make it 4-0. He picked up assists on the final three goals of the game to finish the night with two goals and three assists. He now leads the tournament in both goals (5) and points (10).

Montreal Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield and Kings prospect Arthur Kaliyev both picked up their first goals of the tournament and Minnesota Wild prospect Matthew Boldy grabbed his fourth of the WJC in style with a between-the-legs effort for the seventh goal of the game. Flyers prospect Cam York was also impressive, with three assists on the night.

More on Zegeras, he now sits tenth in the all-time points-per-game (PPG) totals at the WJC with 19 points in eight games for a 2.375 PPG. He also tied Doug Weight for second all-time in assists for the United States at the tournament with 14.

Byfield Hits Switzerland For 6 Points

Team Canada continued to score on Tuesday with a 10-0 trouncing of Team Switzerland. Canada now has 29 goals through three games at the WJC. Dylan Cozens had the performance of the tournament in Canada’s 16-2 win over Team Germany when he registered three goals and three assists. However, Kings prospect Quinton Byfield might have just surpassed him with his six-point performance, two goals and four assists, last night. He helped Canada get on the board early, setting up Nashville Predators prospect Philip Tomasino for his fourth goal of the WJC.

Sudbury Wolves Quinton Byfield
Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves (Photo by Chris Tanouye/CHL)

Canada exploded for four goals in the second period with Calgary Flames prospect Jakob Pelletier, Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Ryan Suzuki and Washington Capitals prospect Connor McMichael all grabbing their second of the tournament. Cozens started the scoring with his fourth of the tournament. Byfield walked away with two assists bringing his nightly total to three assists.

The third period was more of the same with Canada scoring another five goals en route to their 10-0 victory. Byfield grabbed his first two goals of the WJC, while Winnipeg Jets prospect Cole Perfetti and Canadiens prospect Kaiden Guhle grabbed their first and second goals, respectively. Pelletier finished the night off with his second of the game and third of the WJC.

Byfield has finally arrived at the WJC. After Alexis Lafreniere’s stellar performance at last year’s tournament, many doubted whether Byfield could step up and takeover. He now sits third in tournament scoring, trailing only Zegras and Cozens.

Podkolzin Leads Russia to Victory

The third game of the night was another high-scoring affair, and Russia walked away with a 7-1 victory against Austria. The loss leaves Austria winless in their first three games and brings Russia to two wins and one loss. Heading into the game, Canucks prospect Vasily Podkolzin was pointless in his first two games with only five shots on goal. It was a coming-out party for the 2019 tenth-overall pick, as he registered two goals and one assist, all in the first period, to help Russia to a 4-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Vasily Podkolzin Canucks Draft
Vasily Podkolzin, Vancouver Canucks, 2019 NHL Draft (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Rodion Amirov opened the scoring on a penalty shot, and Minnesota Wild prospect Marat Khusnutdinov grabbed his first of the tournament to make it 4-0 for Russia. Austria got one back in the second period by Senna Peeters, but it was all for nothing as Russia countered with three unanswered goals in the third period. Goals from Artemi Kniazev, Egor Afanasyev and Arseny Gritsyuk capped off Russia’s 7-1 victory.

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