Welcome back to day six of Hockey in the South, the series where we cover the Men’s U18 World Hockey Championships in Texas. Saturday was a busy day in Texas as we saw four games take place. Saturday, also, marked the final day of the round-robin play. Teams were looking for one final push into the elimination round of the tournament; and they did not disappoint! Saturday brough 3 high-scoring games and a close match between the host country of the tournament and Finland. Saturday night brought us a lot to discuss, so let’s get started!
Russia 11 v. Czech Republic 1
The first game saw Russia facing off against the Czech Republic in pool B action. The Russian squad came out flying with Matvei Michkov slipping one past the Czech’s starting goalie, Oliver Satny, only 1:22 into the first frame. The Russian’s dominant first period was not done there, Prokhor Poltapov, scored for Russia with a goal in front of the Satny’s crease 13 minutes into the first frame and Ivan Miroshnichenko was able to add to Russia’s tally by making it 3-0 heading into the second frame. The Czechs’ pulled Satny heading into the second period with hopes to spark a slowly deflating Czech squad. The effort was not successful until Jakub Kos scored halfway through the second period. The Russian squad put up three more goals in the second to give them a 6-1 lead heading into the third. Arseni Koromyslov, Dmitri Katelevski, and Prokhor Polatpov plotting his second of the game. The third period reflected much of the rest of the game; complete Russian domination. Matvei Michkov (2), Fyodor Svechkov (2), Danila Yurov were the third period goal scorers for the Russian squad. Michkov and Yurov had outstanding games that showed on the scoreboard with Michkov ending the game with a hat trick and one assist, and Danila Yurov ending with a goal and 3 assists. Russia’s start to finish domination of the Czech’s led them to a 11-1 victory over the Czech squad. Russia’s next game is Monday when they face off against Belarus in quarterfinal play. The Czech squad faces off against Canada, Monday night as well.
Latvia 0 v. Sweden 7
The second game of the day saw Latvia taking on Sweden in pool A play. A relatively uneventful game until the third period, the second game of the day saw a fair share of penalties. In the first period alone, Sweden was shorthanded three times in less than 5 minutes. The only positive of the first period for Team Sweden came early in the period when William Stromgren scored and put the Swedish squad on the board. Come the second period, Latvia took their turn spending much of their second period in the penalty box. Over the course of the second period, Latvia was in the box four separate times which resulted in Sweden scoring their second goal of the game. Albert Sjoberg scored seven minutes into the period giving Sweden a 2-0 lead heading into the third. The third period brought 5 goals and a whole slew of penalties for both squads. William Stromgren scored his second goal of the night, Simon Robertsson plotted the 4th and 5th Swedish goals, with Isak Rosen and Ludwig Persson plotting the final two. Sweden ended their final round-robin game with a dominating 7-0 victory over the eliminated Latvia. Team Sweden’s quarter-final matchup is Monday night when they take on the United States.
United States 5 v. Finland 4 OT
The marquee match-up of day six of the tournament saw the United States taking on Finland to round out Pool B action. The game started off with a fast pace, with team USA scoring 12 minutes into the frame. Dylan Duke scored after a shot from the blue line was redirected out front and landed right on Duke’s blade to give the Americans a 1-0 lead halfway through the first. Finland did not take long to tie the game back up. Forward, Ville Koivunen, slid one past Kaidan Mbereko to tie the game. The tie game did not last long with Juho Jarvela scoring to give Finland the lead heading into the second period. A rather rough end to the first period extended to the second. After Charlie Stramel scored to tie the game up at 2, the two squads went back and forth spending time in the box. After Rutger McGroarty and Niko Huuhtanen exchanged roughing penalties, Isaac Howard, Shattuck St.Mary’s forward, scored off his own rebound to give the United States the lead back again. The second period rounded out with both teams putting up one more penalty and with the Americans leading. The third period saw Finland’s Samu Toumaala slipping one past Mbereko 29 seconds into the frame. With the game being tied at 3 and time winding down, tensions began rising. Sisu Yliniemi gave Finland the lead with less than 7 minutes to go in the third. After a missed American penalty shot, Kaidan Mbereko, was pulled from the American crease to make it a 6-on-5 final 2 minutes. Pulling Mbereko was successful when Ty Gallagher scored with 2 seconds left to go in the frame to tie the game up at 4. The young American squad were on a high after scoring their last-minute game-tying goal and went into the overtime period flying. Not even a minute into the game, Sasha Pastujov, scored the game-winning goal for the Americans. A come-from-behind win has the American squad facing off against Sweden on Monday night for their quarter-final matchup. Finland takes on Switzerland in their quarterfinal matchup.
Canada 5 v. Belarus 2
The final game of the day saw the undefeated Canadian squad taking on Belarus in Pool A play. Two minutes into the first period, Ilya Gavrilov was ejected from the game after a check from behind. On the ensuing power play, Shane Wright, scored for Canada to give the Canadian squad a 1-0 lead, 5 minutes into the first period. To close out the first frame, Olen Zellweger furthered the Canadian lead after scoring on Yan Shostak. With the Canadians coming off of a late first period goal, the Canadian squad were on a high and that ensuing adrenaline continued into the second. Mason McTavish scored two minutes into the second after a feed from Corson Ceulemans. Less than 3 minutes later, Kingston Frontenac, Shane Wright, scored his second of the night to give the Canadians a 4-0 lead. After letting in 4 unanswered goals, Yan Shostak was pulled from the Belarus crease and replaced with Ivan Zhigalov with hopes that the change in goal would reenergize the Belarus squad. After two penalties from the Canadian squad, Andrei Loshko, scored on the powerplay to give Belarus their first goal of the game and to close out the second period. The third frame saw a string of Belarus penalties that occupied the first ten minutes of the third period. After Danil Rogach was ejected from the game for an illegal cross-check, Mason McTavish scored his second of the night on the ensuing powerplay. Despite the 5-1 lead that the Canadian squad had amassed, Ilya Morozov scored to close out the third. The Canadians had won their final round-robin game, 5-2. Belarus’ next game is against Russia, and Canada takes on the Czech Republic on quarter-final Monday.
The 2021 IIHF Under-18 Men’s Championship takes a day off on Sunday and returns to action on Monday when we see the elimination part of the tournament begin. Quarterfinal Monday sees Russia taking on Belarus, Canada taking on the Czech Republic, Finland facing off against Switzerland, and the host country, the United States taking on Sweden. We, at Unbenched, will be here on Tuesday to provide you with a recap of all of Quarterfinal Monday’s action. Games can be streamed off of the IIHF website, HockeyTv.com, or on TSN in Canada and NHL Network in the United States.