May 3, 2021

World U18s: 3 stars of the Quarterfinals

The first round of elimination games is complete, with the four quarterfinal games of the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship providing a full day of hockey.

Matvei Mickhov and Team Russia kicked off the day against Danila Kilmovich and Team Belarus, with Russia becoming the first team to advance to the semifinals with a 5-2 win. While Michkov added his 10th goal of the tournament – just four behind Alex Ovechkin and Cole Caufield for the tournament record for those of you keeping track – it was Danila Yurov who led the way, picking up a goal and an assist in the game. Sergei Ivanov also continued his impressive tournament with 30 saves in the game. Belarus put a ton of pressure on the Russians but just couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities.


While Michkov has been the talk of the tournament, 15-year-old Connor Bedard has been one of the most relied upon players on the stacked Canadian team and deserves some mention as well. In the quarterfinal matchup against the Czech Republic, Bedard carried the team with a five-point (two goals, three assists) night to a 10-3 win. Eight different players scored for Canada, with Dylan Guenther potting two and Logan Stankoven and Shane Wright collecting a goal and an assist. Gabriel Szturc had a goal and an assist for the Czech Republic.

Moving into the semifinals, two of the biggest storylines to follow are Michkov and Bedard. Michkov’s 10 goals are just four back of Alex Ovechkin (2002) and Cole Caufield‘s (2019) 14-goal record in a single tournament. Ovechkin’s came as a U17 player – like Michkov. Bedard on the other hand is now just five points back of Connor McDavid‘s (2013) 14-point record for a U16 player. With both of these young stars having potentially two games left, we could be witnessing history.


The third game saw Team Finland take on Team Switzerland, with the latter coming out with their best performance of the tournament. However, it wasn’t enough to solve goaltender Aku Koskenvuo, as the Finns won 2-0 to give the netminder the shutout. Samu Salminen potted the first goal off a beautiful feed from Samu Tuomaala, and Aleksi Heimosalmi turned on the jets to go end-to-end for the Finns’ second goal.

In the final game of the day, host Team USA battled Sweden for the final spot in the semifinals. While Sweden has struggled through this tournament, they stepped their game up today and defeated the USA 5-2. Just like he has all tournament, Fabian Lysell put the team on his back, pulling out two remarkable goals to give his team the win. The USA was very much in the game for the majority of it, with Kaiden Mbereko have a stellar start to this game, but once again went down with an injury. Sasha Pastujov and Red Savage had the goals for the Americans.


We’ll now get another day off tomorrow (Tuesday), with the semifinals kicking off on Wednesday as follows:

  •  Canada vs. Sweden – 5:00 PM EST
  •  Russia vs. Finland – 9:00PM EST

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

Third star: Danila Yurov (RUS)

Yurov has been one of the Russian’s top players in this entire tournament, so this recognition is a long-time coming. The 2022-eligible had a goal and an assist today and is up to a very impressive 11 points (four goals, seven assists) through five games. He hasn’t been talked about as much as the other top players in this tournament, but he’s been one of the most consistent producers and players in Texas. While it’s been the Michkov show for Team Russia, Yurov’s play deserves some recognition.

Second star: Fabian Lysell (SWE)

Our first three-peat member of the Three Stars of the Day, Lysell just continues to impress in this event. The winger has speed for days, and he utilized that hand his creativity to collect two goals today, leading his team over the host Americans. Lysell is now up to seven points (three goals, four assists) in his team’s five games and there’s no question he’s been the top player for Sweden. He can skate through defenders without missing a beat, has a wicked shot, and the opportunities he can create with his feet is remarkable. You can bet he’ll be looking forward to a rematch versus the Canadians.

First star: Connor Bedard (CAN)

After collecting an impressive four points (one goal, three assists) through the preliminary round, today we saw the Bedard show – an interesting break from the regularly scheduled Michkov show. Bedard has proven to be an all-situations play for Canada and this game was no exception. Bedard exploded on the scoreboard, collecting two goals and three assists to help his team move on to the semifinals. The youngest player in this tournament has been one of its best game-in and game-out, despite not being eligible until the 2023 NHL Draft.

Honorable mentions

Benjamin Gaudreau (🇨🇦), Aleksi Heimosalmi (🇫🇮), Sergei Ivanov (🇷🇺), Aku Koskenvuo (🇫🇮), Kaiden Mbereko (🇺🇸), Isak Rosen (🇸🇪) Fyodor Svechkov (🇷🇺), Danila Yurov (🇷🇺)

Highlight(s) of the night

Adding on the insurance goal for the Finns, Heimosalmi scored his second goal of the tournament, almost the same way he scored the first. End-to-end, squeezing past the defender along the boards and firing it in. Alright, he did it on the opposite side of the rink, but it’s similar. It’s also similar in that both of his goals have now made it into FCHockey’s Highlight of the Night.

With the game tied, Lysell decided he was going to break that tie and delivered. Entering the zone and stepping around Sean Behrens like it was nothing, Lysell seed Mbereko cheating close to the post and goes for the wraparound goal to regain the lead for the Swedes. Shortly after he added a highlight-worthy shot that turned out to be the game-winner.

We haven’t given much love to goaltenders in the Highlight of the Night, so as an honorable mention, be sure to check out Canadian netminder Gaudreau’s wicked glove save.

World U18 scoring leaders


1. Matvei Michkov (🇷🇺) – 12 (10 goals, two assists)

2. Danila Yurov (🇷🇺) – 11 (four goals, seven assists)

T3. Mason McTavish (🇨🇦) – 10 (five goals, five assists)

T3. Samu Tuomaala (🇫🇮) – 10 (five goals, five assists)

T3. Francesco Pinelli (🇨🇦) – 10 (three goals, seven assists)

T3. Nikita Chibrikov (🇷🇺) – 10 (two goals, eight assists)


1. Matvei Michkov (🇷🇺) – 10

T2. Shane Wright (🇨🇦) – 6

T2. Danila Klimovich (🇧🇾) – 6

T3. Mason McTavish (🇨🇦) – 5

T3. Sasha Pastujov (🇺🇸) – 5

T3. Samu Salminen (🇫🇮) – 5

T3.  Samu Tuomaala (🇫🇮) – 5


1. Nikita Chibrikov (🇷🇺)– 8

T2. Francesco Pinelli (🇨🇦) – 7

T2. Danila Yurov (🇷🇺) – 7

T3. Connor Bedard (🇨🇦) – 6

T3. Olen Zellweger (🇨🇦) – 6


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