World U18s: 3 stars from Day 4
Another day in the books, another hat trick, and another Michigan goal as Day 4 of the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship comes to a close.
The day kicked off with Team Germany battling Team Russia. Russia took the win in this one, a commanding 6-1 win that shot them to the top of their pool with six points. This game turned out to be the Matvei Michkov show, who finished his day with four goals, including a lacrosse-style goal AND a between-the-legs marker. His performance catapulted him to the top of both the goal-scoring and points leader board in the tournament.
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Team captain Nikita Chibrikov continued his strong tournament with three assists, Alexander Figurin had two, and Fyodor Svechkov and Danila Yurov, two of the top players for Russia this week, connected on the opening goal of the game. Connor Korte had the lone goal for the Germans, who now sit winless through three games in the tournament.
At the same time, Sweden took on Team Switzerland, bouncing back from their 12-1 loss to Canada with a 3-1 win. Although it didn’t start off on a positive note. Swiss forward Benjamin Bougro broke the ice in the second period, giving his term a 1-0 lead after his team largely commanded the ice through the first period.
But a turning point in the game was a game misconduct from Max Streule, as he landed a knee-on-knee hit on Simon Edvinsson. While Edvinsson was in some discomfort, he returned to the game. With the five-minute power play, Sweden was able to connect on all three goals of the game, coming from Isak Rosen, Arvid Sundin, and Liam Dower-Nilsson, who also added an assist. Fabian Lysell and Edvinsson added two assists each.
In the third game of the day, Team USA had a nailbiter versus the surprisingly difficult Czech Republic team, that has made the Americans, and Finns yesterday, really work for it. Martin Rysavy got the Czechs on the board in the first, the only goal in the game through the first 40 minutes. In the third, Lane Hutson showed off some impressive foot and puck work, getting an assist on Sasha Pastujov‘s game-tying goal. Hutson had the lone goal in the shootout to win the game for the USA.
Two other highlights of the night were Sean Behrens, who was absolutely everywhere on the ice, and goaltender Kaiden Mbereko. Behrens was throwing hits, blocking shots, creating chaos in the offensive zone, and was an unquestionable leader for the Americans. Other than the one goal against in the first, Mbereko was perfect in the game, stopping 30 shots in 54 minutes of play. He briefly left the game in the third, for about 11 minutes, before returning to continue to shut the door, even into the shootout.
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Finally, Belarus and Danila Klimovich, who has become the talk of the tournament, took on Latvia, defeating them 6-2 to secure a quarterfinal spot by improving to 2-0-0-1, leaving Latvia with Germany as the two winless teams through three games. Kilmovich added another two goals, and Dmitri Kuzmin – who had the first lacrosse goal of the tournament – collected three assists as did Yegor Sidorov. Martins Lavins and Rainers Darzins had the goals for Latvia.
Here are FCHockey’s Three Stars of the Day, presented by SummerSkates – Show Your Game.
Third star: Kaidan Mbereko (USA)
Getting his first start of the tournament, Mberko was practically perfect playing against the Czech Republic. He stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced, playing 54:03 of this game. He left the game for approximately 11 minutes in the third after going down with an injury, with Gibson Homer coming in, but luckily Mbereko was able to come back and finish the game. That includes the shootout, where he was perfect against five shooters. Mbereko is an intriguing goaltender to watch in the 2021 NHL Draft.
Second star: Fabian Lysell (SWE)
The first repeat appearance on FCHockey’s Three Stars of the Day, Lysell was a bright spot in an otherwise blad performance from Team Sweden. He showed off his lightning-quick hands, created offense, and captured two primary assists to help his team get the win. Sweden has struggled through this tournament, but Lysell’s foot speed, creativity, and nose for offense have been on display. If Sweden will be able to turn it around, expect FCHockey’s No. 10 ranked prospect to be the catalyst.
First star: Matvei Michkov (RUS)
It’s hard to believe that Michkov isn’t eligible until the 2023 NHL Draft – where he’s one of two early favorites for the top spot. Michkov had been having a good tournament, but this was a coming-out party of sorts, scoring four goals to down the Germans. Plus, how he scored those four goals is just as key. In order: a lacrosse goal, a post-and-in goal from a tight angle, a between-the-legs goal, and then “just” a snapshot for the fourth. What a game from one of the biggest prospect names in the world.
— Josh Bell (@JoshuaBell31) April 29, 2021
Sean Behrens (USA), Nikita Chibrikov (RUS), Lane Hutson (USA), Martins Lavins (LAT), Dmitri Kuzmin (BLR), Martin Rysavy (CZE)
Highlight of the Night
Matvei Michkov pulls off the lacrosse goal – our second one of the tournament!
— Josh Bell (@JoshuaBell31) April 29, 2021