The boys’s World U18 championships kicked off on Monday in Frisco, Texas with the People going through off in opposition to Russia in what turned out to be the kind of wild, high-scoring affair that makes top-level worldwide hockey so compelling.
The USA appeared like they’d cruise via their opening recreation after they took a 5-1 lead on the Russians early within the second interval. However the Russians got here storming again to chop the result in 6-5 after two intervals of play.
After controlling play for a lot of the third interval, Russia lastly bought the equalizer with 5:16 left to ship the sport to additional time. Within the 3-on-3 additional time, Russian captain Nikita Chibrikov scored off a rush to present the Russians the additional level.
Staff USA will play their second preliminary spherical recreation Tuesday night in opposition to Germany at 8pm CST.
Notes and Ideas
-The story for the USA at this yr’s event goes to be their unprecedented youth. As a consequence of accidents, and Covid protocols making it troublesome so as to add gamers from outdoors the NTDP program, the US is skating seven gamers from the 2004 age group, making them by far the youngest staff the US has ever fielded for this event.
Each the great and the unhealthy of that have been on full show within the opening recreation in opposition to Russia. I feel you noticed a number of the high-end ability that these youthful gamers deliver on the offensive finish of the ice, particularly early on within the recreation when the US got here out flying and caught the Russians nonetheless making an attempt to toes underneath themselves.
Significantly spectacular was ‘04 D Lane Hutson, who quarterbacked the highest US energy play unit and registered three assists with some very nice passing. Ryan Chesley had an early purpose, albeit a little bit of a present from the Russian goalie. Logan Cooley made some good offensive performs. Isaac Howard had a pleasant help. For some time, it appeared like issues may simply work out.
After which the wheels fell off. There’s not a number of disgrace in giving up objectives to this Russian staff. There are some large identify snipers on their roster. However…..it was 5-1. To not come away with a win is a little bit of a catastrophe. I feel the maturity of the US staff, each from a bodily and psychological standpoint got here into play because the Russians took over management of the sport.
What does it imply going ahead?
It’s not essentially time to panic. Just like the World Juniors, the preliminary spherical for the U18s is fairly meaningless. However it could be time to face some realities. The US is the presumptive favourite on this event yearly, since they’re bringing a really gifted, mature staff that has performed collectively for all the season. This yr’s staff has a number of expertise too, however with two probably first spherical draft picks out of the line-up, and so many U17 gamers—mixed with the truth that on account of Covid, Canada introduced their greatest staff ever to this event—and expectations are in all probability fairly low for the US. Most years, something lower than gold is a failure; this yr, discovering a solution to get a medal would in all probability be thought of a win.
-Participant of the sport on this one no doubt goes to the Russian captain Nikita Chibrikov, even earlier than the OT purpose, only for the impression he had on the sport. He took a silly penalty late within the first interval that bought him a minor penalty, which the lethal US energy play scored on, together with a ten-minute misconduct. Russia was down 5-1 when he got here out of the field, however when he got here again, he had a pair nice shifts that utterly modified the momentum of the sport.
Chibrikov was ranked late-first spherical in Bob McKenzie’s pre-tournament draft rankings, however may very well be a participant that rises with an enormous event right here.