Welcome back to Unbenched’s coverage of the Men’s Under-18 World Hockey Championships. Day 2 in Texas was eventful so let’s get started on the round-up!
Day 2 consisted of four matchups. In Pool A action, Belarus took on Switzerland and Canada hit the ice against Sweden. On the other side of the tournament, Pool B saw Finland playing Russia and the USA taking on Germany.
The first game of the day had Belarus and Switzerland in action. Danila Klimovich scored three goals for Belarus on route to their 7-1 victory over the Swiss. Daniil Sotishvili also had a multi-goal game, scoring two in the third period. Dmitri Kuzmin even pulled out a lacrosse-style goal. Forward, Livio Truog was the lone goal scorer for Switzerland.
Game two was one in which Finland topped Russia 4-3 in a shootout. The game was back and forth, with the teams constantly trading chances. Fyodor Svechkov scored two of Russia’s three goals while Samu Salminen, Ville Koivunen, Samu Tuomaala all contributed goals for Finland. Ultimately, 60 minutes was not enough and the teams were forced into overtime and then a shootout. Finnish goals in the shootout came from Verner Miettinen and Koivunen leading to a 4-3 final score.
The tournament hosts, Team USA, hit the ice on Tuesday evening against the Germans. Jack Hughes, who is committed to Northeastern University, got things started for the Americans. The University of Notre Dame commit, Ty Gallagher, followed up with one to extend the USA lead to 2-0. Roman Zap had something to say about it and brought the Germans back within one. 2-1 USA was how they ended the period. Sasha Pastujov gave the USA some breathing room with his second-period goal but Germany’s Bennet Rossmy scored late in the period to try and close the gap again. Come the third period, the USA kept the game in their hands. Charlie Stramel added a cushion, making it 4-2 but again, Germany stayed right with the Americans and Sebastian Cimmermann cut the USA lead. With 8:12 to go, the Germans were within one. Gallagher came back and sealed the deal for the USA, leading to a final score of 5-3.
At the same time, Canada was facing off against Team Sweden. Team Canada came into this tournament with high expectations for their incredibly skilled lineup. Captain Shane Wright came out flying for the Canadians and scored early. Brandt Clarke, Brett Harrison and Francesco Pinelli all added goals before the end of the first period and the Canadians headed into the intermission with a strong 4-0 lead.
If you thought Wright was done after one, you would in fact be wrong. Canada’s captain, who was was granted exceptional status into the OHL for the 2019-20 season, continues to make a statement every time he hits the ice. He is arguably the top player eligible for the 2022 NHL Draft and while he missed this season with the Kingston Frontenac due to the league’s COVID-19 pause, it has not stopped him from excelling in various areas on the ice. In the second period, he continued to dominate the game and added another goal to Canada’s heap. Nolan Allan and Ryan Winterton both scored to bring Canada to a 7-0 lead. Wright scored his third goal of the game, shorthanded, to send Canada into the intermission up 8-0 over the Swedes.
Just when Sweden thought the deficit could not get any worse, Mason MacTavish added another Canadian goal. Before the end of the game, Clarke, Wyatt Johnston, Logan Stankoven. Sweden managed to only squeak one goal by Canadian goaltender, Thomas Milic, which came off the stick of Simon Forsmark. Canada took the win their tournament opener 12-1 over Sweden.
Wednesday will see just two games. The Czech Republic will play Finland and Canada will be in action against Latvia.
We, at Unbenched, will be here every day for a round-up of all of the previous day’s events. Games can be streamed off of the IIHF website and HockeyTV.com or on TSN in Canada and NHL Network for the USA.