The 2022 World Juniors commenced Sunday with preliminary play. Three Chicago Blackhawks' prospects were in action and all of them contributed to Team USA's 3-2 win over Slovakia.
Michael Krutil, the only other Hawks' prospect at the tournament, sat out as his Czechia squad fell 6-3 to Canada. Krutil is serving a two-game suspension that carried over from last year's tournament.
Here's how the Blackhawks' American prospects fared:
Drew Commesso is Team USA's No. 1 goalie for the 2022 World Juniors. The Hawks' 2020 second-round selection picked up the win and made 23 saves on 25 shots as the Americans topped Slovakia.
A Slovakian offensive lull in the middle of the game left Commesso relatively untested through two periods. The Slovaks upped the pressure in the final 20 minutes, however. Commesso allowed two goals, one of which came on the power play. A potential third goal did not count due to the puck contacting a Slovakian high stick before entering the net.
Nevertheless, the IIHF named Commesso Team USA's best player of the game.
Landon Slaggert began the tournament skating on Team USA's third line. He recorded a goal in the second period to extend the Americans' lead to 3-0 at the time.
The tally perfectly encompassed Slaggert's style of play. The Blackhawks' 2020 third-round pick plays a hard-nosed game, which culminated in a greasy goal in the crease.
In addition to the goal, Slaggert recorded two total shots and four penalty minutes in 12:24 of ice time.
Wyatt Kaiser manned the left side of the Americans' second defensive pairing to begin the tournament. He picked up an assist on Slaggert's goal, as seen above.
Kaiser, also a Hawks' 2020 third-round pick, added four shots and two penalty minutes in 17:48 of ice time.
What's On Tap Next?
The trio of Blackhawks' prospects on Team USA will be back in action on Tuesday, Dec. 28 to take on Switzerland. Michael Krutil's Czechia teammates will be without him once again when they face Germany on Monday, Dec. 27.