U-18 World Championship Roundup: Canada and Belarus Win Big

Canada comes out swinging, USA holds on, Belarus takes a massive victory and we've got another incredible comeback. Catch up with all of the happenings of Day 2 in Texas.
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Canada Dominant in Massive Win Over Sweden

Sweden didn't look all too great in the first 40 minutes against Belarus on Monday and definitely fell short on Tuesday, with Canada winning their opening game 12-1.

One of the biggest draws of the tournament was getting to see Don Mills Flyers teammates Shane Wright and Brandt Clarke back together. They connected on the first goal of the game at 5:19 on the power play when Clarke found Wright all alone to the right of the Canadian net, sending a shot home for his first goal in a game that counted in 422 days when he played for Kingston. 

Five minutes later, Clarke got one of his own when Francesco Pinelli sent Clarke down the ice, with Clarke, the top Canadian prospect for the 2021 draft, beating Carl Lindbom glove side. Two minutes after that, 2023 NHL draft wunderkind Connor Bedard got his first point in a Canadian uniform when he set up Brett Harrison on the rush, and Pinelli scored Canada's fourth goal just over a minute after that to cap off a dominant opening frame for the Canadians.

Canada wouldn't slow down in the second. Just 30 seconds into the middle frame, Wright scored his second of the night after his Don Mills teammates, Clarke and Brennan Othmann, would connected on passes for the 5-0 lead. 3:30 later, Nolan Allen's wrist shot from the point made it through traffic and past Viggo Andren in the Swedish net, only for Ryan Winterton to score two minutes later to further stretch the lead. 

Wright would score one in the dying seconds of the middle stanza to secure the hat-trick and Mason Mactavish, Clarke, Wyatt Johnston and Logan Stankoven would score one each in the third to cap off the dominant effort. Simon Forsmark would score the lone Swedish goal late in the third.

Germany Puts up a Fight, But USA Stronger

USA was the better team on Tuesday night, but it was far from a cakewalk. Germany came within a goal of tying the game three times, but USA would hold on for the tight 4-3 victory for the team's first win of the round robin.

A day after sitting out the game against Russia, Jack Hughes opened the scoring at 9:29 after his wrist shot beat Simon Wolf. Ty Gallagher scored a power-play marker at 16:31 to double the lead, but Kevin Niedenz put Germany on the board with a rebound goal off of a Roman Zap shot to cut the lead in half.

USA would once again take a two-goal lead midway through the second. Sasha Pastujov would grab a rebound from a Logan Cooley shot, rewarding the former for making the play happen in the first place. But with a two-man advantage with under two minutes to go, Germany found themselves down by one once again when Bennett Rossmy led a 5-on-1 attack, beating Gibson Homer with the wrist shot goal.

As the Americans began to learn, they couldn't shake a German team that was determined to play spoiler. Charlie Stramel scored a breakaway goal for the United States at 47:35 but Sebastian Cimmerman would answer back with a goal with just nine minutes to go, beating Homer cleanly on a wrist shot. Gallagher added a second goal late to finish things off, but it definitely wasn't an easy one for USA.

Finns Come From Behind to Stop Russia

Less than 24 hours after pulling off a big comeback victory over USA, Russia found themselves on the other end of a collapse on Tuesday by losing 4-3 to Finland in the shootout.

Finland definitely looked like a team on a mission early in the game, but Russia wasn't too interested in trailing as they did a night ago to the United States. At 9:21, Ivan Miroschnicheko Fydor Svechkov helped create a turnover in the neutral zone before 2022 draft prospect Ivan Miroschnichenko got ahold of it at the blueline. Miroschnichenko set up Svechkov just in front of the crease and he made no mistake, putting Russia upfront for the first time in the game. 

Finland began the second period with a quick of their own. Samu Salminen re-directed Vijami Juusola's shot past Sergei Ivanov – Russia's third goalie to get ice time through two games – to make it 1-1. But Russia took over from there, with Svechkov scoring another goal and Nikita Chibrikov continuing to show his skills after the game-winning goal on Monday to expand the lead to 3-1.

Russia looked comfortable, but they were about to get a taste of their own medicine. Less than 24 hours after erasing a 5-1 deficit to win in overtime against USA, Russia would cough up a lead of their own. With under three minutes to go in the game, Aleksi Heimosalmi did the hard work, but Ville Koviunen finished it off to make it 3-2. On the next play with the empty net, Brad Lambert took the puck from the blueline, skated in and found an open Samu Tuomaala to tie the game up with time trickling off the clock. The game required a shootout, and Verner Miettinen would score on the first shot of the skills competition to give the come-from-behind victory to steal the victory in extra time.

Swiss Penalty Kill a Disaster as Belarus Takes Victory

Four straight power-play goals by Belarus put things out of reach for Switzerland, with the Belarusians easily taking a big 7-1 win for one of the team's best performances in tournament history.

Danila Klimovich was the man of the hour for Belarus, tagging on a hat-trick after recording his nation's lone marker on Monday. His first goal came at 12:50 when his wrist shot went blocker side on Kevin Pasche, beating the small goaltender off of a screen. He then scored goals less than three minutes apart just prior to the halfway point in the game to complete the three-pack. 

But the real highlight of the game came at 1:33 in the second on the power play. After keeping the puck from crossing over the blueline, Dmitri Kuzmin took the disk behind the net and pulled off the "Michigan" lacrosse-style goal, giving Belarus a 2-0 lead on a gutsy play. Livio Truog scored just nine seconds later for Switzerland, but it wouldn't do much to spark a comeback effort for the team. Danil Sotishvili scored Belarus' first five-a-side goal of the tournament five minutes into the third period and Ivan Anoshko and Danil Sotishvili added a penalty shot and a shorthanded goal respectively in the final minutes of play to cap off a big 7-1 win – the largest victory of the event thus far.

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Three Stars

1. Shane Wright, C (CAN): First competitive game in 422 days and he scores a hat-trick. Because of course.

2. Danila Klimovich, C (BLR): From little-known to tournament star. His hat-trick kept Switzerland out of contention.

3. Brandt Clarke, D (CAN): Two goals and five points showed why he's a star ahead of the 2021 draft.

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Day 3 Schedule

Canada vs. Latvia – 9:00 PM ET
Finland vs. Czech Republic – 9:00 PM ET

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Standings

Group A:
1. Canada, 3
2. Sweden, 3
3. Belarus, 3
4. Switzerland, 3
5. Latvia, 0

Group B:
1. USA, 4
2. Czech Republic, 3 
3. Russia, 3
4. Finland, 2
5. Germany, 0

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