World U18s: 3 Stars from Day 1
With the first four games in the books, the opening day of the 2021 IIHF World Under 18 Championship is officially in the books, and there was no shortage of opening acts to be impressed with.
The day kicked off with Czech Republic battling Germany and Belarus taking on the defending champion Sweden. The Czech Republic and Germany were still finding their legs in this one, but it was the Czechs that came out on top 3-1, taking advantage of turnovers and outshooting the Germans 40 to 19.
At the same time, Belarus put on an impressive performance against the Swedes, making it extremely difficult in what should have been a fairly easy game for Sweden. It was still Sweden coming away from the win, 5-1 and outshooting Belarus 44-30. Still, Belarus should be commended for their effort in this game, keeping it interesting for most of the game.
In the second set of games, Latvia battled Switzerland while the biggest – and most entertaining – game of the day, Russia versus USA, also took place. Switzerland topped Latvia 4-2, while Russia won an overtime thriller 7-6. In the second period, Team USA was up 5-1, but the Russians pushed back hard to end the game and complete the comeback.
SEE ALSO: WORLD U18S: 7 UNDERAGES TO WATCH
The games will only get better from here. With Day 1 in the books, here are FCHockey’s Three Stars of the Day, presented by SummerSkates – Show Your Game.
Third star: Fabian Lysell (SWE)
Kicking off the tournament with a win, Fabian Lysell put his speed and skill on display in this one. He scored one goal in this game (see the Highlight of the Day below), putting all teams on notice of what he can do. Playing on the top line for Sweden, expect more of this from the Swedish winger. Ranked No. 10 in FCHockey’s Spring ranking for the 2021 NHL Draft, Lysell has a chance to push himself further into the top-10 in this tournament.
Second star: Lane Hutson (USA)
Not eligible until the 2022 NHL Draft, Lane Hutson came in for Team USA and helped lead the charge right off the bat. He picked up three primary assists in this match, helping the team to a 5-1 lead early in the second period. The team couldn’t hold on to that lead, but Hutson showed a tremendous amount of intelligence and deception in his game. Sasha Pastujov (one goal, two assists) and Sean Behrens (one goal, two assists) also had three points each, but Hutson’s performance gets the nod from FCHockey.
First star: Nikita Chibrikov (RUS)
Picking up a primary assist on Russia’s first goal of the game, Team Russia and Nikita Chibrikov quickly found themselves down 5-1 early in the second. He picked up another assist on Russia’s third goal of the game but really stepped up in overtime, going end-to-end and slipping the game-winning goal behind 2022-eligible Gibson Homer. The captain showed his wheels and leadership in the game, ensuring Russia came away with the W. Chibrikov is ranked No 21 on FCHockey’s Spring ranking.
— Brandon Holmes (@BHolmes_Hockey) April 27, 2021
Highlight of the night
It didn’t take long for Lysell to leave his mark on the World Under-18s, going end-to-end and driving around a Belarussian defenseman before capping his incredible rush with a backhand by goaltender Ivan Zhigalov.
— Brandon Holmes (@BHolmes_Hockey) April 26, 2021