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2022 World Junior Hockey Championship: Team Austria preview & roster

The Austrians will be in tough to stay in the top division.

United States v Austria: Preliminary Round Group B - 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

No team benefitted more from the fact that last year’s tournament did not have relegation than Austria. The team went 0-4 while being outscored 28-1. Officially they finished 10th and last in the tournament, but they will be back in the top division with a chance to fight for survival.

With some returning players, and several 17-year-olds joining the team, they will look to cause an upset.

Team Austria final roster

# Player Position League Current team (NHL)
# Player Position League Current team (NHL)
29 Lukas Moser G AlpsHL Kitzbüheler EC
1 Leon Sommer G AlpsHL Steel Wings Linz
30 Sebastian Wraneschitz G AlpsHL Vienna Capitals Silver
7 Luca Erne D USPHL Premier Fresno Monsters
3 Lukas Hörl D AlpsHL RB Hockey Juniors
4 Lorenz Lindner D AlpsHL EC-KAC Future Team
2 Matteo Mitrovic D ICEYSL HTC Nordic Hockey Academy
10 Lukas Necesany D AlpsHL RB Hockey Juniors
5 David Reinbacher D SL ECH Kloten
12 Tobias Sablattnig D AlpsHL EC-KAC Future Team
16 Christoph Tialler D AlpsHL EC-KAC
18 Martin Urbanek D AlpsHL Kitzbüheler EC
6 Luca Auer F AlpsHL RB Hockey Juniors
8 Mathias Böhm F ICEHL Vienna Capitals
14 Tim Geifes F USPHL Premier South Shore Kings
9 Maximilian Hengelmüller F AlpsHL RB Hockey Juniors
19 Marco Kasper F SHL Rögle BK
21 Oskar Maier F AlpsHL RB Hockey Juniors
17 Senna Peeters F QMJHL Halifax Mooseheads
20 Killian Rappold F AlpsHL Vienna Capitals Silver
23 Vinzenz Rohrer F OHL Ottawa 67's
24 Lucas Thaler F ICEHL EC Salzburg
26 Johannes Tschurnig F ICEYSL Villacher SV U20
15 Finn van Ee F AlpsHL EC-KAC Future Team
13 Leon Wallner F J20 Nationell Södertälje SK

Strengths

No team that is overmatched has any sort of chance without a goaltender who can steal a game, and in Sebastian Wranechitz, they have someone who is able to stand up and make key saves. In last year’s tournament, he played over 70% of Austria’s minutes in the tournament. He had a 0-3 record with a 7.45 goals against average, but a .892 save percentage. No goaltender made more saves than his 173 or faced more shots than his 194.

This season, he has only played in three games. He played two in the Western Hockey League with the Victoria Royals, and one in the AlpsHL with Vienna. He is 0-3 in those games. He made 23 saves on 27 shots in Austria’s 7-0 loss to Sweden on Thursday night.

They also have their only points scorers returning from a year ago. Senna Peeters, who scored the team’s only goal, and Marco Kasper had the lone assist. In all, they are bringing back 31 games of experience, which is ahead of just Germany and Canada.

Peeters plays for Halifax in the QMJHL, while Kasper plays for one of the top teams in Europe, Rögle in the SHL.

Peeters and Kasper were joined by Vinzenz Rohrer, who has eight goals and 14 assists in 28 games with the Ottawa 67’s, on the top line.

Weaknesses

This team is going to struggle to generate offence. They currently have no NHL prospects on their team. They simply don’t have the depth, nor the top end talent, as some of the other teams in the tournament. With an average age of 18.16, they are also the second youngest team in the tournament behind just Slovakia.

In their loss to Sweden on Thursday, they had seven shots in their 7-0 loss and were outshot 23-1 in the second period where the Swedes scored four goals.

Obviously this is a team that struggled with Minnesota Wild first-round pick Marco Rossi last year, and will be in tough even more without him.

X-Factor

One player to watch in this tournament may be newcomer Luca Auer. The 2004-born forward is a first-time eligible player for the upcoming NHL Draft, and he leads all Austrian players in scoring for their club team. The 6’1”, 179 pound forward is currently tied for fourth in AlpsHL scoring with 17 goals and 23 assists in 27 games. The players ahead of him range in age from 28-31.

He plays for the RB Hockey Juniors team, which collects some of the best young players in the area, including multiple players who will play for Austria, and Germany in the tournament, and has them play against men’s teams.

If Auer can provide any kind of spark to take some pressure off of Peeters, Kasper, and Wraneschitz, then the Austrians may just be able to do enough to stave off relegation.

The main difference between last year’s tournament and this one will be that relegation series that will pit the bottom teams in each group. Austria’s best chance to avoid that series will be their game against Germany, and should they end up in the relegation series, they will likely go up against Switzerland in a best-of-three series.

It might be too much to ask that they avoid relegation, but they do have some paths to survival at the top division.