U-17 tournament report

By Ivana Paulova

At the beginning of February Czech towns of Pribram and Strakonice<br />hosted a tournament of the U-17 selects from Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden and<br />Finland

the beginning of February, the Czech towns of Pribram
and Strakonice hosted a tournament of the U-17
selects from
Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland. Russia dominated in the tournament.
Their players were physically well prepared and thanks to tireless skating they
were able to decide games in third periods.
Russia showed that they have good
depth. Most of the guys are turning to very promising players, but the ones
that had the best showing were captain Gennady

Churilov, powerplay
quarterback Vitaly Anikeenko
and speedster Alexander Bumagin, who was awarded the best forward of the


in the tournament was Team
Finland. They had good showing in
all three games even though they lost two. Their players did not have as high
skill level as the Russians had. The ones that shined in the Finnish jersey
were tall forward Mikko Lehtonen,
puck moving defender Mikael Kurki and
reliable forward Sami-Petteri Sandell.


The Czech
squad came in third. They had a slow start into the tournament since Swedes
scored 6 out of their 7 goals against the Czechs in the opening game. They
seemed bit tired after the week-long training camp and managed to show some
good plays only in the last game against
Finland which they won 2-0. After
some guys who were expected to lead the Czechs were not able to fulfill their
roles, other players had a chance and the ones that stood out were power
forward Ondrej Fiala,
rookie Michal Repik and
offensive blueliner Jakub Vojta.


place then remained for the Swedes who surprised everyone by scoring 6 goals on
the Czechs. A very similar selection had problems with scoring goals on a
midget tournament in
Calgary a month ago. In the rest of
the games they showed they can make some good plays, but scoring goals apparently
was a real challenge for them and they managed only one more goal against
Russia. There were quite a few
players with high potential, the main ones were captain
Fredrik Pettersson,
two-way center Patrik Zackrisson

and playmaker Tom Wandell.


is a player by player assessment. Each
player’s position and birthdate is noted.


Gennady Churilov,
Russia – 5.5.1987 The captain of
the Russian selection was their true leader. He proved himself in each game and
the trophy for the best forward of the tournament would suit him the best. Churilov is a two-way forward effective at both ends of the
ice. He is a fluid skater with good acceleration and stability. In the
tournament he was the center of the first line, their brain and playmaker. His
main assets are great reading of plays, vision, tape to tape passes and
accurate wrist and slap shot. He was able to display his offensive abilities
well but was not very physical. Churilov showed he is
also a smart player with hard drive on the net.


Vitaly Anikeenko, D, Russia – 2.1.1987 One of
the most known 2005 eligible prospects.
Showed himself in a very
good light while being the number one defensive pair with another promising
defender Andrei Zubarev. Anikeenko

relied manly on his sound positional game and outstanding vision. While Zubarev is also an offensive blueliner,
Anikeenko took more defensive role, but still he has
precise outlet passing and was able to display his hard and accurate slap shot
on the powerplay units. He showed he is a very good
skater who is well-balanced and his defensive zone coverage is superb.


Alexander Bumagin,
Russia – 1.3.1987 Awarded as the
best forward of the tournament. Creative technical player who takes advantage
of his amazing quickness and superb reading of plays to unpleasant forechecking which forces opposing defenders to mistakes.
He also displayed hard drive on the net and did not hesitate to use variety of
shooting arsenal. Blessed with top-notch puckhandling

skills he had no problem handling heavy traffic. Bumagin
was not afraid to fight for the puck along the boards and showed he can throw
his body around too. Very tenacious and energetic player.


Mikko Lehtonen, F, Finland – 1.4.1987 Tall but skinny
first line winger. Every shift he made an impact. Lehtonen

displayed dazzling puckhandling skills and is very
hard to knock off the puck. He is strong on the puck and showed accurate
decision making. Not a bad skater but should add more explosiveness. Tremendous
vision and precisely timed passes are his other virtues. He is not afraid to
shoot the puck from all positions and his slap shot is very accurate. Lehtonen also contributed defensively when needed.


Mikael Kurki, D, Finland – 13.1.1987 A captain of a
Finnish squad is a smallish defender with a huge heart. A tremendous powerplay quarterback and a fierce competition has
outstanding outlet passing. Kurki is a quick, agile
skater who is blessed with great puckhandling

abilities. He does not fear using his body even though he has smallish frame.
He is very industrious and intense player. His main drawback is the lack of
size but he makes up for that with solid positioning, hockey sense and his
vision that enables him to foresee plays.


Sami-Petteri Sandell, F, Finland – 1.3.1987 This smooth puckhandler was a
third line winger who showed reliability at both ends of the ice. While in
defensive duties he is cautious, on offense his presence is always a threat to
the other team. A creative player with tremendous vision is able to create scoring
opportunities for his teammates and is frequently seen accurately passing the
puck rather than shooting it at the goal. Sandell

proved himself to be effective on the powerplay and
also on the penalty-killing units. His skating is good but needs to work on
explosiveness and acceleration.


Ondrej Fiala, F, Czech – 4.11.1987 Equally good as center as well as wing. Strong and skilled
power forward is a very good skater with solid stability. He uses his body well
and does not fear to fight for the puck along the boards and in the corners. Fiala also coped well with his defensive duties, since for
many years he played as blueliner. He showed he can
make plays offensively and is a gifted playmaker too with hard drive on the net.
Thanks to great hockey sense and vision he is able to make accurate passes with
precise timing but was seen rather rarely shooting the puck.


Michal Repik, F, Czech – 31.12.1988 Late 88-born
smallish player with an incredible hockey sense showed he deserves a stable
spot in the U-17 selection. His performance was very mature for his age, he takes advantage of his amazing vision, ability to
read play extremely well and his smart head together with soft hands. Repik is a great skater too with quick first step and good
stability. While watching this guy hockey seems so easy sport to play, he
possesses uncommon skill to be always at the right place at the right time.
Precise decision making with the puck is his other ability he knows when to
shoot the puck and when to pass, he has very accurate wrist shot.


Jakub Vojta, D, Czech – 8.2.1987 The best blueliner in the Czech
squad. The assistant captain showed how great skater he is, very quick and
powerful on his skates. Vojta displayed his main
strength and that is outlet passing and puckhandling,
which is useful mainly on the powerplay. He possesses
superb vision and reads the play well, so he is also good on penalty killing
units. Vojta uses his body well along the boards but
sometimes open ice hits cause him problems. His offensive decision making is
amazing but in the defensive zone he is not that unmistakable. The defensive
zone coverage needs some improvement.


Pettersson, F,
Sweden – 10.6.1987 Smallish frame
but a huge heart. The team captain is an amazing skater who is deceptively
quick and his acceleration is unbelievably explosive. An unpleasant forechecker, he seemed almost tireless and forced opposing
defenders to mistakes many times. Very tenacious player.
He is an extremely hard working player who sacrifices everything to the team
success. Very good leader on and off the ice. Pettersson also displayed puckhandling

abilities with solid shooting arsenal. He reads the plays well and can make
precise tape to tape passes.


Patrik Zackrisson, C, Sweden – 27.3.1987 Probably the best Swedish player on the U-17 tournament. The
center of the first line showed he is developing to a superb two-way forward.
Quick and well-balanced skater showed top-notch stickhandling

abilities and was hard to knock off the puck. Zackrisson
has amazing vision and ability to foresee and predict plays which make him very
effective at both ends of the ice. He is a smart player who can create plays
and he seems to always to make right decision with the puck. He also showed he
is not afraid to throw his body around if needed.


Wandell, C,
Sweden – 29.1.1987 Creative center
proved to be an excellent playmaker with hard drive on the net. He is a great
skater with good stability. Wandell is blessed with
superb puckhandling and is more of a passer but his
wrist shot is very accurate too. He was willing to fight for the puck in the
corners as well as along the boards and when he will bulk up more he will be
extremely effective. Thanks to tremendous hockey sense he many times surprised
the opposing defensemen with uncanny moves and slipped through them easily. Wandell is defensively responsible too.