Ersson Samuel Worlds 2024

Preliminary round play at the 2024 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships concluded on Tuesday. The single-elimination quarterfinal games of the medal round will be played on Thursday.

The Flyers have two players participating in this year's tournament. Winger Joel Farabee, playing for Team USA (5-1-1), chipped in one goal and one assist in seven games during Group B preliminary round play. Goaltender Samuel Ersson, started three Group B games for undefeated Sweden (7-0-0), while posting a 3-0-0 record, 1.00 goals against average and a ,925 save percentage. Ersson shared the net with Minnesota Wild goalie Filip Gustavsson (four games played, 1.50 GAA, .930 SV%).

On Wedesday, Team USA defeated Latvia by a 6-3 score. The Americans built a 4-1 lead by early in the third period. However, the Latvians stormed back from two closely spaced goals to narrow the gap to 3-3 with 15 minutes left in the final stanza. Shane Pinto (Ottawa Senators) restored some breathing room for Team USA.

Finally, with Team USA killing a Zach Werenski (Columbus Blue Jackets) cross-checking penalty and Latvia attacking 6-on-4, Farabee got behind the defense with an empty net staring at him. Farabee was slashed on the hand from behind in desperation by Janis Jaks. Farabee's altered shot attempt missed the net. The referee, however, correctly signaled for a goal.

Under IIHF rules, this is an automatic goal because a penalty shot cannot be awarded against an empty net. Farabee was credited with a shorthanded empty net goal for his first tally of the tournament. 

Farabee has been skating for the last three games on a five-on-five line with former Flyers center Kevin Hayes (St. Louis Blues) and Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras. He opened the tourney on a line with Shane Pinto (Ottawa Senator) and Washington Capitals prospect Ryan Leonard and subsequently played with San Jose Sharks prospect Will Smith and Zegras.

Ersson backed up Gustavsson in Sweden's tournament-opening 5-2 win over Team USA and 5-1 win over Poland. Ersson played back-to-back games against Germany (6-1 win) and Kazakhstan (3-1 victory). Gustavsson played against Latvia (7-2 win) before Ersson got the start against France (3-1 win) and then backed up Gustavsson against Slovakia (6-1 win).

As the first-place team in Group B, Sweden drew a quarterfinal matchup  on Thursday against traditional archrival Finland (3-3-1, fourth place in Group A). Team USA will play Czechia (third place in Group A with four regulation wins, one overtime win and two overtime losses). 

The other two quarterfinal games on Thursday will pit Team Canada (first place in group A, five regulation wins and two OT wins) against Slovakia (fourth place in Group B) and Switzerland (second place in Group A) against Germany (5-2-0, third place in Group B). 

The semifinal games will be on Saturday. The gold medal and bronze medal games are on Sunday. All medal round matches will be played in Prague. Preliminary round venues were split between Ostrava (Group B) and Prague (Group A).