World U18 Championship Review
This year The World U18 Championship took place in Slovakia. Piestany and Trnava were hosting for eleven days top hockey kids from the whole world. For the first time the U18 championship had twelve teams and one of them was Canada, which entered this competition for the first time. Teams were separated into two different groups and teams in the group played each other. Than the first three teams played three more games in final round (the game results A1-A2, A1-A3, A2-A3, B1-B2, B1-B3, B2-B3 from prelinary round also counted for the final round. Other teams played in relegation round.
Group A - Piestany 1.Russia550034:1010 2. Czech Republic540125:128 3. Canada530221:176 4. Norway511313:233 5. Slovakia510410:192 6. Germany50147:291 Group B - Trnava 1. USA550033:510 2. Finland540122:78 3. Belarus520314:214 4. Sweden520316:164 5. Switzerland520318:214 6. Ukraine50054:370 Relegation Round 1.Switzerland550028:610 2.Slovakia530215:116 3.Sweden530220:136 4.Germany51139:163 5.Norway511312:203 6.Ukraine51049:272 Final Round 1.USA540125:78 2.Russia540129:138 3.Czech Republic540117:98 4.Finland520314:154 5.Belarus51049:322 6.Canada500512:300
1. USA- Whole team played very well. Defensmen cleared the area in front of the net perfectly and forwards played clever, but aggressive game in offensive zone. This team had no weakness and that was the main reason for winning the gold medals.
James Howard GK03/26/84186 cm93 kg
Very confident goalie. James covered most shots and even if he had some problems with them his teammates helped him and gave him enough time to solve the problem. His big size also helped him to cover almost all rebounds.
Mark Stuart D04/27/84188 cm100 kg
The team captain. Real leader, he used his size very well and helped the team to reach self- confidence in the most important moments.
Patrick O`SullivanC02/01/85179 cm80 kg
Even if he`s bit smaller he always went in front of the net. Patrick was also valuable in power plays where he played blueliner`s role. He often tried it with one-timers or skated to the net if there was enough space.
2. Russia- Russians were the best skaters and stickhandlers as well as years ago. But they had one weakness, because their goalie Khudiakov couldn`t be compared with the top goalies like Howard, Mensator or Finns Tervo and Toivonen. Forwards were extremely quick, but some of them played bit selfish (probably because of scouts watching them).
Anton BabchukD05/06/84195 cm91 kg
The best ranked (CSS) guy at the tournament. He scored 3 goals using his rocket slap shot. I just expected him to play bit more aggressive in his own end.
Alexander OvechkinLW09/17/85187 cm85 kg
Sasha was marvelous. He led the tournament in scoring even if he was one of the youngest here. He`s got complete shot arsenal and he showed it 14 times that is better than Ilja Kovalchuk`s last year performance. He was the most favorite player and people were fascinated by his super skills.
Nikolay ZherdevLW11/05/84184 cm81 kg
He was named the best forward of the tournament. He`s got also marvelous skills, but he played extremely selfish for whole tournament.
3. Czech Republic- Next team from big trio. In spite of the fact that Czechs missed some guys from North America, they could compete with Russians or Americans. Czech fans who arrived to Piestany helped them, too.
Lukas MensatorGK08/18/84172 cm74 kg
He made two mistakes in game against team Russia. On the other side he helped his team with his shootout against USA and was named the best goalie of the tournament.
Jiri HudlerC01/04/84179 cm77 kg
Smallish forward who led his team (team captain) to the first Czech medal in this age category. He was the best one from 2002 draft eligible players at this tournament.
4. Finland- Team with best goalie duo. Tervo and Toivonen were both very good, so Finns didn`t have classical No.1 goalie. The team missed the leader, but they tried hard and showed beatiful performance.
Sean BergenheimRW02/08/84181 cm87 kg
Team Finland scoring leader. With his linemate Valterri Filppula they made a lot of troubles in opponent;s own zone. In the game against Russia his line missed a bit of luck, because they had several marvelous scoring chances to tie the game.
5. Belarus- They surprised all experts when they beat Switzerland in group A and qualified to the final round.
6. Canada- Canadian National teams usually need some time to get used to different rules and new teammates, so I thought they will be better game-by-game. In the first game (vs. Russia) they played very good with big aggressivity in front of opponent`s net. I was very surprised when they got worse and in final round they lost all three games. Team missed some reliable goalie and D-men.
Pierre-Marc BouchardC04/27/84178 cm68 kg
Smallish center who had very nice numbers at the tournament scoring 4 goals, 12 points and winning 63% of face-offs.
7. Switzerland- Candidate for medal dissapointed when they lost the game against Belarus. On the other hand they won relegation round with five wins in five games.
8. Slovakia- Hosting team was full of weak smallish players who had big problems in one-on-one duels.
Richard StehlikD06/22/84194 cm104 kg
Even if he made several mistakes he was the team captain and helped with his leadership and hard work. He was also scoring leader with 3 goals and 6 points.
Andrej MeszarosD10/13/85186 cm81 kg
The youngest player in the team showed pretty good game. He was named team`s MVP in game against Czech Republic. His offensive tools helped team in offensive zone.
Leading goaltenders GAA NameTeamGPIMINGAASVSSO James HowardUSA63601,3395,431 Lukas MensatorCZE74201,5794,661 Tommi TervoFIN42381,7793,271 Hannu ToivonenFIN52422,2392,971 Goal Scoring Leaders NameTeamGPGAPPIM Alexander OvechkinRUS8144180 Kevin RomySUE895144 Brett SterlingUSA893124 Sean BergenheimFIN884126 Alexander SeminRUS8871516 Scoring Leaders NameTeamGPGAPPIM Alexander OvechkinRUS8144180 Alexander SeminRUS8871516 Patrick O`SullivanUSA8781537 Kevin RomySUE895144 Jiri HudlerCZE877148 Brett SterlingUSA893124 Sean BergenheimFIN884126 Pierre-Marc BouchardCAN8481216 Patrick EavesUSA8481245 Nikolay ZherdevRUS8651122 Defenseman Scoring Leaders NameTeamGPGAPPIM Daniel SondellSWE83472 Konstantin KorneevRUS82570 Ryan SuterUSA816712 Ondrej NemecCZE816745 Michal BarinkaCZE84266
Best goalie (IIHF)- Lukas Mensator (CZE)
My opinion- James Howard (USA)
Best defenseman (IIHF)- Ryan Suter (USA)
My opinion- Mark Stuart (USA)
Best forward (IIHF)- Nikolay Zherdev (RUS)
My opinion- Alexander Ovechkin (RUS)
All Stars Team (press)- Lukas Mensator- Konstantin Korneev (RUS), Richard Stehlik (SVK)- Alexander Ovechkin, Jiri Hudler (CZE), Nikolay Zherdev
My All Stars Team- James Howard – Mark Stuart, Ryan Suter- Alexander Ovechkin, Jiri Hudler, Patrick O`Sullivan (USA)