New Jersey Devils: Alex Holtz Shines In Great WJC Matchup

Alexander Holtz #10 of Sweden. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Alexander Holtz #10 of Sweden. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Alexander Holtz was the best player in a World Juniors instant classic.

The World Junior Classis is always fun to watch but every now and again you get an instant classic. On Wednesday night, the game between Sweden and Russia was just that as Russia defeated Sweden in overtime. They snapped Sweden’s 54-game round robin winning streak on an overtime power-play goal that came with under ten seconds left before the shootout. Despite the loss, New Jersey Devils prospect, Alex Holtz, was the best player in the game.

Holtz was a bit snakebitten earlier in the tournament. He shoots the puck as good as any young prospect but he kept either ringing iron or seeing the puck be miraculously saved by the goalie. It even happened in this game as he had a couple of goal posts before finally scoring. He hit the post on two wide-open chances but then buried his goal on a shot he took from an impossible angle. Hockey is funny that way but Holtz is finally on the board.

We thought he scored again on his drive that tied the game with under two minutes left but it is clear that it was deflected by a teammate in front so the primary assist was his. One goal and one assist are pretty nice for a kid who dominated the entire game. It is clear that on the power play and at even strength, he has the ability to create chances for himself and others around him.

Holtz wasn’t the only other New Jersey Devils prospect to play in the game. Shakir Mukhamadullin and Arseni Gritsyuk were on the other side for Team Russia. Mukhamadullin is pretty good on the power play and making passes which were evident at times in this game and throughout the tournament. Gritsyuk had an assist which was nice to see as well.

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The Swedes are back in action on Thursday night for a New Year’s Eve battle with the United States of America. Russia is done and waiting for the result of the Sweden vs United States game to find out if they win Group B. If either of those two teams wins in regulation, they win the group. If things start going to overtime, there are a bunch of different tiebreakers to consider based on how it ends. Either way, we will see more of the Devils’ prospects from this game in the next round and that is what matters the most.