It’s May 4th, 2018, which means this year’s IIHF World Championship is officially underway. Some of the best hockey players from around the world will represent their countries in this tournament, including NHL and AHL players whose teams are not involved in the Stanley and Calder Cup Playoffs series which are still underway. This is also the first time South Korea will participate in the event.
It comes as no surprise that two Hershey Bears stars would want to join their home country’s teams in the quest for the Championship; the Bears having not qualified for the AHL Playoffs this season.
That’s right! Jonas Siegenthaler and Mathias Bau (Hansen) of Switzerland and Denmark, respectively, are in the city of Copenhagen for the start of the IIHF Championship. Here, they will compete alongside their fellow countrymen to bring hockey glory back to their homeland. Interestingly enough, should the Swiss and Danish teams be the ones in the finals, the two Hershey teammates will face off against each other in the IIHF Championship’s final round.
Jonas Siegenthaler played in 75 out of 82 games with Hershey, and in that stretch, earned a total 12 points split down the middle between goals and assists. He also accumulated a whopping 61 minutes of penalty time (PIM) for an overall +/- rating of -20. At first glance, those numbers are far from impressive. But keep in mind, a defensive defenseman’s job isn’t to score goals; it’s to prevent them by any means necessary. Much like his Washington Capitals counterpart, Brooks Orpik, who hasn’t scored a goal since February of 2016, Jonas Siegenthaler is better suited to throwing his body in the way of a shot, or a player, to keep the puck of the Bears’ net. Jonas Siegenthaler is wearing jersey number 37 for Switzerland, and is currently slated to be on their third defensive air. The Swiss team will face off against Austria in their first match tomorrow (May 5th, 2018) at 12:15 PM EST.
At the time this article is being written, the game between Germany and Denmark is tied at two goals a piece, with just under five minutes left to go in the third period. It is here that Siegenthaler’s regular season teammate, Mathias Bau is looking to make his country proud. The Danish winger has never competed in an international tournament of this caliber before. This past season, Mathias put up 13 goals and 10 assists (tallying a total of 23 points) for Chocolate Town in the 58 games that he played. He also earned himself a handful of penalties, for a total of 14 PIM. Bau Hansen, who is wearing the Danish jersey number 50, is on Denmark’s fourth offensive line alongside the likes of Patrick Russell of the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate team of the Edmonton Oilers. Currently, Bau Hansen is playing the left wing on the line. It should be noted, however, that he is capable of playing both the left and right wings. It will be interesting to see if that fact will shake things up further down the line for the Danish hockey team.
It was also rumored that Damien Riat, a currently unsigned Capitals prospect was traveling to Denmark for the series. Riat, being of Swiss decent, would play alongside Jonas Siegenthaler if he was to participate in the tournament.
As of now, there is nothing suggesting he is in for game one tomorrow. Should news break of his participation, expect an update from NoVa Caps as soon as the information becomes available. Riat is 21-years-old and since becoming a Capitals prospect, has continued to play in his homeland on the Geneve-Servette hockey club in the NLA. In the NLA’s 2017-18 season, Damien Riat played in 48 games and earned 25 points; 12 each in goals and assists.
So, those are all the names from within the Washington Capitals organization who might make an appearance in the 2018 IIHF Championship Tournament. Who do you expect to make this biggest splash in this international contest? What team are you pulling to bring home all the glory? Sound off in the comments section below, and always, stay tuned to NoVa Caps for the latest Washington Capitals news.
By: Chris Laroche