U-18 World Championship Roundup: Canada Holds on, Finns Complete Another Comeback

Finland once again shows you can't underestimate them and Canada just holds on against Latvia. Catch up with all the action from Day 3 in Texas.
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Canada Narrowly Edges Latvia

If you put money on Latvia being more competitive against Canada at this point in the tournament than Sweden, you'd be one rich hockey fan. Latvia gave Canada some scares on Wednesday, but the Canadians ultimately was too strong and would hold on to the 3-2 victory.

The story of the game was the play of Latvian netminder Karlis Mezsargs. He struggled against Switzerland in a 4-2 loss, but came up big with 48 saves against a much stronger Canadian team, albeit in a losing effort.

It took 27 minutes for Canada to score their first goal of the game. Logan Stankoven would be the one to end Karlis Mezsargs' fantastic run when his wrist shot beat the Latvian netminder low blocker side Stankoven then would set Mason McTavish up two minutes later to double the lead, a lead Canada likely thought was safe. 

But was it? Not exactly. With under a minute to go in the second, Anri Ravinskis somehow found a way to beat Canadian netminder Benjamin Gaudreau with a surprise shot, putting Latvia on the board. Sandis Vilmanis would score on the power-play with seven minutes remaining, but Dylan Guenther's goal just to prior to that helped seal the deal for Canada. McTavish would score another on the power play with 44 seconds to go to finish off the contest, but the win certainly didn't come easy.

Finns Pull Off Second Straight Overtime Comeback Win

Call them the Comeback Kids – Finland has won their second game after trailing in the final minutes of play to beat the Czech Republic 6-5 in a thriller in Texas.

The two teams had little time to gel before the Czechs opened the scoring. Just 30 seconds in, Gabriel Szturc batted in a bouncing puck off of a Jaroslav Chmelar chance, giving the Czech Republic a 1-0 lead. Three minutes later, Matej Pinkas doubled things up after waiting long enough to pinpoint where he wanted his wrist shot to make it 2-0.

Like Russia the day before, the Czechs seemed to get complacent and it backfired. At 11:01 in the first, Ville Koivunen took the puck from near the goal line to just inside the blue line and spun around. On the pivot, he got his wrist shot up high over Tomas Suchanek and got the Finns on the board. They wouldn't score again until the second period, but defenseman Viljami Juusola caught Miko Matikka cruising in undetected on the rush, with Matikka sending a quick wrister in for the 2-2 goal. 

A minute after that, the Finns took control. Aleksi Heimosalmi went coast-to-coast and beat Suchanek with a perfectly placed wrist shot, giving Finland the 3-2 lead. But Simon Marha knocked in a rebound from a David Moravec shot a few minutes later and the Czechs knotted it back up, giving his team a bit of life for the first time in a while. Shortly after, Jakub Altrichter tipped in Lukas Pajer's shot on a screened attempt and gave the Czechs their second two-goal lead of the game.

But just like on Tuesday, the Finns weren't ready to go down without a fight. At 52:11 on the man advantage, Samu Tuomaala's wrist shot beat Suchanek cleanly, putting Finland back within one. Four minutes later, again on the power play, Tuomaala set up Samu Salminen in clean air for the tying goal. The Czechs once again took a costly penalty, and Tuomaala would make them pay dearly with the 6-5 goal with 17 seconds left – capping off yet another comeback effort.

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Three Stars

1. Samu Tuomaala, F (FIN): Two goals and an assist in the final eight minutes, all on the power play. He's been Finland's best player through two games and a catalyst for the team's comeback efforts.

2. Karlis Mezsargs, G (LAT): This game shouldn't have been close but with 48 saves, he kept Latvia in it. Best goalie effort of the tournament so far.

3. Mason McTavish, F (CAN): The kid with the great hair had two goals, an assist and a penalty. Quite an eventful game en route to a Canadian victory.

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Day 4 Schedule

Germany vs. Russia - 5:00 PM ET
Sweden vs. Switzerland - 5:00 PM ET
Belarus vs. Latvia - 9:00 PM ET
USA vs. Czech Republic - 9:00 PM ET

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Standings

Group A:
1. Canada, 6
2. Belarus, 3
3. Switzerland, 3
4. Sweden, 3 
5. Latvia, 0

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

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