It did not take long for a Philadelphia Flyers prospect to make an impact at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship. Representing Team Russia, Yegor Zamula recorded two goals in the opening game against the host country, the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, Russia could not capitalize on Zamula’s strong outing, losing in upset fashion, 4-3.
Zamula’s first tally demonstrated the young defenseman’s hockey IQ, ability to anticipate the opposition’s actions, and patience. Just over midway through the first period, Zamula received the puck near the point. Understanding that the man on him would eventually drop down for a block, Zamula made a quick move causing Petr Cajka to do just that. Next, Zamula was able to skate around Cajka, fire the puck on a screened netminder, and get Russia on the board.
Zamula’s poise and ability to allow an opportunity to develop on this play have to be applauded here. If he decided to pull the trigger without causing Cajka to drop, it’s unlikely that the shot would find its way to the back of the net.
The second goal was a result of smart passing and a defensive lapse from the Czech Republic. In the second period, Russia rushed the puck into the offensive zone looking to tie the game up. They brought the puck down the wing and the Czech left the middle of the ice exposed. Zamula skated right in, received the pass from Nikita Alexandrov, and put the puck in the net uncontested.
Player of the Game
At the end of every WJC game, each team selects a player of the game. Obviously, Russia chose Yegor Zamula for keeping in the game when a lot of the players struggled to produce more offense.
Zamula is going to be a key impact player for Russia throughout this tournament. Philadelphia lucked out snagging this undrafted free agent and have a lot to look forward to.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports