The Blackhawks’ second-round pick in the 2023 draft, Oliver Moore, scored his first goal and assisted in Team USA’s 7-2 victory over Latvia in the IIHF World Junior Championship quarterfinal on Tuesday.
The quick Moore scored the game’s last goal for Team USA, which won handily for the second time in a row after being selected 19th overall by Chicago in June. He also assisted in setting up the first goal for Drew Fortescue.
Moore, 19, is a freshman at the University of Minnesota, sharing a room with defenseman Sam Rinzel, who is selected by Chicago in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft.
Moore received more ice time on Tuesday despite being positioned as the 13th forward on the highly productive American team at this year’s WJC. Another Blackhawks draft pick (third round, 66th overall in 2022), Gavin Hayes, played just 2:26 against Latvia after being sent off on Sunday for kneeling against Slovakia.
Moore is from the suburbs of the Twin Cities, just like Rinzel. In five games at this year’s World Junior Championship in Göteborg, Sweden, he has one goal and two assists.
Goalie Adam Gajan, Slovakia Ousted in OT by Finland.
Slovakia lost 4-3 in overtime to Finland in the quarterfinals. Adam Gajan, who was selected by Chicago in the second round, 33rd overall in 2023, was in goal for Slovakia.
On Tuesday, Gajan stopped 24 of 28 shots, but three of Finland’s goals came from poor defensive plays. The 19-year-old, who is with Rockford in the AHL, is the second-best long-term netminder prospect for the Blackhawks, behind Drew Commesso.
After the Slovaks committed mistakes in their own zone, the Finns scored two of their three goals during regulation time from the slot. With 44 seconds remaining in regulation, however, Slovakia’s Filip Mesar scored, and Gajan was left on the bench to add an extra attacker, to tie the game at three and force overtime.
Jere Lassila of Finland put an end to it 24 seconds into the extra time. From his own zone, he raced down the right wing, skated untouched between two Slovak players, and closed the distance on Gajan by himself. With plenty of time and space on his hands, Lassila was able to move and shoot a low shot past the sprawled goalie.
In his second WJC tournament, Gajan went 3-1-0 in four games with a 2.50 goals-against average and a.916 save percentage. He is scheduled to rejoin the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers before playing for the University of Minnesota-Duluth the following season.
Martin Misiak, a center from Slovakia who was also selected by Chicago in the second round of the 2023 draft (55th overall), ended the tournament with three assists. The 190-pound, 6-foot-1 forward will return to the OHL Erie Otters.