U18 Day 1: USA crack Swiss in 2 periods

Sweden over Belarus 6-2; Canada routs Germany 9-2; Russia beats Slovakia 6-4, U.S. over Swiss 7-2.


The USA, here with Sam Lofquist, stopped the Swiss with Fabian Ganz. Photo: IIHF/HHoF/Pekka Mononen

KAZAN, Russia – The IIHF World U18 Championship in the Tatar capital of Kazan, Russia, opened with a Canadian 9-2 win over Germany followed by Sweden's 6-2 vs. Belarus and Russia's 6-4 victory against Slovakia. The last game, USA vs. Switzerland, ended 7-2 in favour of the Americans.

Switzerland – USA 2-7 (1-1, 0-3, 1-3)

Jeremy Morin, Colin Moore and Philip McRae scored unanswered goals in the middle period to break a 1-1 deadlock and provide Team USA with 4-1 lead en route to a comfortable 7-2 win over Switzerland. Morin and McRae were the main American contributors with two goals and one assist each, as the U.S. got scoring from all four lines.

Patrick Geering gave the Swiss the lead at 14:41 against last year’s U18 silver team, but Justin Florek got the United States even with a PP goal 86 seconds later. Dany Kristo had the remaining goal for Team USA while Marc Kampf added a consolation marker for the Swiss, who were outshot 34-18.

Joe Cannata made 16 saves for the U.S, while Benjamin Conz took the loss for the Swiss, making 27 saves. USA plays Belarus on Monday, while the Swiss face Finland. 20 players from Team USA’s 22-man roster play permanently for Hockey USA’s Under-18 program. Only forward Philip McRae comes from the Canadian junior leagues.

Slovakia – Russia 4-6 (1-2, 0-1, 3-3)

Hosts and title-holder Russia didn’t disappoint their 7,400 fans in the Tatneft Arena and beat a persistent Slovakian team, 6-4, in an entertaining game.

Slovakia shocked the hosting nation with a shorthander from Marek Viedensky at 8:30 but the first line equalised with the following attack. Andrey Loktionov equalised just 22 seconds later. Kirill Petrov made the fans cheer with another power play goal at 17:09. From then, the Russians didn’t lose their lead but after two strong periods (with one more goal by Anton Lazarev) they had more work in the last one than expected.

Igor Golovkov, Maxim Chudinov and Vyacheslav Kulemin were the others of the six different Russian scorers but after each of their goals, also the Slovaks hit the net – Miroslav Preisinger one time, Tomas Hricina twice. The Slovakian comeback was, however, too late and Russia deserved the 6-4 win with outshooting their opponents 41-23.

Kirill Petrov took lead for the Russians with his goal in the first period. Photo: IIHF/HHoF/Mikael Fritzon

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Sweden – Belarus 6-2 (1-1, 1-0, 4-1)

Say “Belarus” and this makes every Swedish hockey player shiver with angst – and it looked for a while like this could be the next major upset. A hard skating Belarusian team held the highly touted Swedes to a 1-1 score after the first period and there was every indication that this could be a game.

But the U18 Tre Kronor have a forward by the name of Jacob Josefsson who not only single-handedly downed Belarus with his three goals, but in the process impressed approximately 60 NHL scouts in the stands of the Tatneft Arena in Kazan. Talk about distributing a pretty business card in a timely fashion.

After Joakim Matsson broke the deadlock with the 2-1 goal at 5:49 of the second period and Andre Petersson made it 3-1 early in the third with a two-man advantage, Josefsson went to work. The forward from Djurgarden Stockholm scored 4-1 and 5-1 in the last period, calming down the Nordic nerves.

Josefsson also had Sweden’s opening goal in the tenth minute, Mattias Ekholm was responsible for the sixth Swedish goal. Alexander Fomin scored both goals for Belarus.

Man of the match! Jacob Josefsson scores one of his three goals against Belarus in Sweden’s 6-2-win in Kazan. Photo: IIHF/HHoF/Pekka Mononen

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Canada – Germany 9-2 (2-0, 4-1, 3-1)

Upsets often happen in the first game of a World Championship, but not this time. It wasn’t even close. Olympic coach Pat Quinn’s Canadians outskated, outshot and outscored Germany in all three periods and in all aspects of the game. Team Canada opened a little hesitantly but the floodgates opened after Greg Nemisz opened the scoring after ten minutes and Taylor Hall made it 2-0 at 15:50, a PP-goal.

Jordan Eberle and Nicolas Deschamps had two goals each for Canada, while Tyler Myers (also three assists), Eric O’Dell and Ryan Ellis had singles. Cody Hodgson added three assists. Patrick Pohl (second period) and Daniel Weiss (third) got consolation goals for Germany, who were outshot 54-15. Their goalie Philipp Grubauer made 45 saves.

Canadian Maxime Sauvé shoots against Germany netminder Philipp Grubauer. Photo: IIHF/HHoF/Mikael Fritzon

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