Josh
Bell
April 28, 2021

World U18s: 3 stars from Day 3

After Day 1 and 2 saw four games and eight teams battle it out, Day 3 had just two games underway – but provided more than enough excitement.

Both playing in their second game of the tournament, the Czech Republic and Finland had a back-and-forth battle all night. The Czechs came out to an early 2-0 thanks to goals from Gabriel Szturc and Matej Pinkas. The Finns battled back to not only tie the game but take a 3-2 lead in the second, thanks to an assist and a beautiful goal from Aleksi Heimosalmi. The Czechs tied it up to end the second though, setting up an incredible third.

RELATED: WORLD U18S: 3 STARS FROM DAY 2

The Czech Republic once again piled on two more goals to put them up 5-3, but Samu Tuomaala wasn’t having any of it. The winger put the team on his back, bringing the team within one, setting up the game-tying goal, and getting the game-winner with 18.1 seconds left.

RELATED: WORLD U18S: 10 2021-ELIGIBLES TO WATCH

In the second game of the night, Team Canada came in to face Latvia after a 12-1 win over Sweden the night before, with everyone expecting another blowout. Latvia and goaltender Karlis Mezsargs had other plans though. Despite 52 shots against, Latvia held the Canadians to just four goals, taking an extremely respectable 4-2 loss in the game.

SEE ALSO: WORLD U18S: 7 UNDERAGES TO WATCH

Mason McTavish (two goals, one assist) and Benjamin Gaudreau (25 saves, including some key stops) led the way for Canada. Also chipping in was Logan Stankoven and Dylan Guenther picking up a goal and an assist each. 2023-eligible Connor Bedard collected two assists. For Latvia, Anri Ravinskis and Sandis Vilmanis potted the goals. While Lativa took the loss, this was a tremendous game for Team Latvia.

Third star: Mason McTavish (CAN)

With Shane Wright held out of the game for precautionary reasons, McTavish stepped up and acted as the best Canadian on the ice. He picked up his team’s second goal of the game, picked up the assist on what turned out to be the game-winner, and then put the game away with the Canadian’s fourth and final goal. FCHockey’s No. 15 ranked prospect now has five points (three goals, two assists) in the tournament.

Second star: Karlis Mezsargs (LAT)

As mentioned, Latvian goalie Mezsargs faced 52 shots from the high-powered Canadians. Against the stronger Swedish team, Team Canada had 47 shots – scoring 12 goals. What Team Latvia and Mezsargs did in this game was remarkable. The goaltender gave his team every chance to stay in the game. After letting four goals on 15 shots against the Swiss in his first start, it’s safe to say Mezsargs has redeemed himself.

First star: Samu Tuomaala (FIN)

Through the first two games of this tournament, Tuomaala has proven to be one thing: clutch. In the first game against the Russians, Tuomaala had the game-tying goal to send the game to extra time, winning in a shootout. Tonight, he topped that. Down 5-3, the Finnish winger put up two goals and an assist – including the game-winning goal with 18.1 seconds left – to secure the victory for his team.

If you want a player that shows up big in the final minutes of the game, FCHockey’s No. 46 prospect is proving to be that player. Tuomaala now has four points (three goals, one assists) in the tournament.

Honorable mentions

Benjamin Gaudreau (CAN), Aleksi Heimosalmi (FIN), Ville Koivunen (FIN), David Moravec (CZE), Gustavs Ozolins (LAT), Logan Stankoven (CAN)

Highlight of the night

Before Tuomaala’s goal completed the comeback to win the game, Heimosalmi went coast-to-coast to help Finland overcome their first two-goal deficit. Showing some excellent speed, deception, and vision, this was an absolutely beautiful goal from the Finnish defenseman.

FCHOCKEY’S 3 STARS OF THE DAY

April 26 | Day 1Third: Fabian Lysell (SWE), Second: Lane Hutson (USA), First: Nikita Chibrikov (RUS)
April 27 | Day 2: Third: Danila Klimovich (BLR), Second: Brandt Clarke (CAN), First: Shane Wright (CAN)

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