He was relatively quiet in the first two games of the 2022 World Junior Championship. No points on just four shots. But on Saturday night Washington Capitals forward prospect Haakon Hanelt began to make a statement.
He would score his first goal of the tournament at 16:43 of the second period in Germany’s 3-2 victory over Switzerland. Hanelt’s goal gave Germany a 3-1 lead heading in the second intermission.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) August 14, 2022
Hanelt’s tally not only demonstrated his speed and lethal shot, but also gave a glimpse at his puck handling skills and ability to move the puck up the ice. He essentially froze a Swiss defender with a hesitation move at mid-ice and skated right by.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) August 14, 2022
Hanelt was very prominent throughout the first two periods of the contest and just missed on a lob-pass breakaway earlier in the second period. The pass was a bit too far ahead for Hanelt to collect the puck and setup a decent shot, but the play was a great demonstration of his blazing-fast speed.
“We really put pressure as a team, played quickly and took advantage of the chances well,” Hanelt said following the game. “This game today was a strong team performance. I believe that if we play against the Swedes now, we must become even more consistent in the defensive zone.”
Hanelt also had more time on the power play in Game 3, after sitting out the man-advantage in Game 2 and makining just a brief appearance on the second unit in Game 1. He has shown he can move the puck around at good speed, and play in all spots on the power play, however he seems to be most impactful along the half wall (Backstrom position).
Hanelt has started all three games on the left wing of the third line. In game one against high-powered Team USA, Hanelt’s centerman, Bennett Rossmy, was tossed from the game early in the first period, ultimately bringing to an end any continuity for the third line in the game. He finished the game a -2 on 17 shifts and 13:46 of ice time in Germany’s 5-1 loss to Team USA. He had one of Germany’s 11 total shots for the game. In Game 2 against Austria, Hanelt was a -1 with three shots on 17 shifts in 16:26 of total ice time in Germany’s 4-2 win. He finished Game 3 with a goal on 2 shots in 15 shifts and 15:14 of ice time.
It’s been a long road for Hanelt. After missing three different international tournaments due to injuries and a Covid outbreak, he is finally getting his shot at the World Juniors. And at 19 (he turns 20 on June 1), Hanelt should be in the mix for the upcoming 2023 World Junior Championship in December.
We will have full game-by-game tournament summaries for both Hanelt and Oskar Magnusson (Sweden) at the conclusion of the tournament.
By Jon Sorensen