April 30, 2021

World U18s: 3 stars from Day 5

We’re plowing through the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship, with the fifth day of action already complete.

There were just two games on the schedule today, but just like the first day when there were two games, there was no shortage of entertainment. That was true right out of the gate for Finland as they took on Germany – who were playing in their final game of the preliminary round. The Finns came out blazing scoring twice in the first two minutes (and 19 seconds apart) for an early 2-0 lead en route to a commanding 5-0 lead in the first period. That dictated the game, as the Finns would go on to win 10-0.


Samu Salminen was the star for the Finns, potting two goals and adding an assist to his night. He was one of four Finns to have three points, with Samu Tuomaala (one goal, two assists), Ville Koivunen (one goal, two assists), and Sami Paivarinta (one goal, two assists) joining him.

Niko Huuhtanen also potted two goals, while Topias Vilen, Aleksi Heimosalmi, and Jimi Suomi all had two assists. Goaltender Juuso Helomaa stopped all 23 shots he faced for the first shutout of the tournament. But it wouldn’t be the only shutout for very long.


In the other matchup, Canada defeated Team Switzerland 7-0, who like Germany were also playing in their final preliminary game. Dylan Guenther opened the scoring, followed closely by 2023-eligible Connor Bedard, who potted his first international goal for Canada.


The second period was all Francesco Pinelli, as he potted the only two goals of the frame, adding one more and an assist for the hat trick and a four-point night. Brennan Othmann and Corson Ceulemans (who also added two assists) added the two other markers, while defender Olen Zellweger had three assists in the final frame, adding to an existing assist for a four-point night as well. Goaltender Thomas Milic picked up the assist, having stopped all 11 shots he faced.

Here are FCHockey’s Three Stars of the Day, presented by SummerSkates – Show Your Game.

Third star: Samu Salminen (FIN)

This game was all Finland, and team captain Salminen led the charge. Salminen has been solid for the Finns all tournament and is now up to five points (four goals, one assist). This was the first game where Salminen really broke out, showing off a wicked one-timer, quick hands on a tip, and nice passing throughout the game. Eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft, Salminen is a bit of a divisive prospect, but has does well for his draft stock in this tournament.

Second star: Olen Zellweger (CAN)

With four assists on the night, Zellweger now has five through three games in the tournament. The WHL star defenseman has shot up draft boards in his short season, and if you’ve got a glimpse of him in this tournament you’ve seen why. He moves the puck well and seems to always be involved offensively with the Canadians. Looking at their all-star lineup, that’s an impressive feat for FCHockey’s No. 55-ranked prospect.

First star: Francesco Pinelli (CAN)

In the game against Latvia, Pinelli was actually benched for a large portion of the third period. Tonight, he was looking to make a statement and prove his worth on this team. With three goals and an assist, the talented forward did just that. He was in the right areas, getting to loose pucks, and moving it well, resulting in FCHockey’s No. 16-ranked prospect earning first-star honors for the night.

Honorable mentions

Corson Ceulemans (CAN), Mathieu Croce (SUI), Dylan Guenther (CAN), Niko Huuhtanen (FIN), Ville Koivunen (FIN), Sami Paivarinta (FIN), Samu Tuomaala (FIN),

Highlight of the night

With 17 goals scored in the two games today, 2022-eligible Joakim Kemell‘s coast-to-coast marker on Luca Ganz takes the cake. He showed off some wicked hands to get through the defender before finishing the play off with Finland’s fifth goal of the night.

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)

April 28 | Day 3: Third: Mason McTavish (CAN), Second: Karlis Mezsargs (LAT), First: Samu Tuomaala (FIN)

April 29 | Day 4: Third: Kaidan Mbereko (USA), Second: Fabian Lysell (SWE), First: Matvei Michkov (RUS)

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