Happy Easter and Passover to all those reading as I hope you had a great holiday weekend. Team USA and Jack Hughes continued their run through the early rounds of the U18 World Championship from Sweden. The US won again, defeating Russia 6-3. Hughes added another two points to his total in the game with a goal and an assist.
The Russians stormed out of the gate, with the USA taking two penalties in quick succession, one after another. First Jack Hughes was called for high sticking at 2:29. Then, as soon as the US killed off that one, Cole Caufield was off for hooking. The Russians capitalized on this power play, with Yegor Chinakhov scoring at 5:48 to make it 1-0.
Rodion Amirov then scored at 7:56 of the first to give Russia the quick 2-0 lead.
But the Americans would tie things before the first was out with Hughes getting things started. He scored at 9:40 of the first. This was on the power play as Chinakhov was called for tripping at 8:04.
The American offense struck again when Alex Turcotte scored at 14:51 to knot things at two going into the second period.
From then on, the US was able to break through. At the 10:16 mark of the second, Russia was again on the penalty kill when Ilya Nikolayev was taken off for tripping. Matthew Boldy scored on the ensuing power play for the Americans at 11:55 to give the USA a 3-2 lead.
The Americans made their lead 4-2 with less than 30 seconds to go in the second when Caufield scored off assists from Hughes and Turcotte. This was Hughes’ second point of the afternoon.
Just 8:03 into the third frame, Russia made a goalie change when Yaroslav Askarov was pulled in favor of Vsevolod Skotnikov. A few minutes after that, at 12:04, Yegor Spiridonov scored to get the Russians back within striking distance of the US. It was now 4-3.
But the Americans would hold off the Russian comeback, with Caufield scoring his second of the game at 14:25 to make it 5-3 and Matthew Beniers icing things with three seconds remaining to make it 6-3.
In goal, Spencer Knight made 20 saves on 23 Russian shots. Askarov and Skotnikov made 37 save combined on 43 American shots.
Hughes’ stat line saw him record a goal and assist for two points plus the two penalty minutes, five shots on goal and a plus-1 plus/minus rating.
The undefeated Americans now take on Latvia Tuesday, the 23rd in the next step in the round-robin portion of the tournament.
Bringing it back to North America for our next game, the Ottawa 67’s and the Oshawa Generals clashed in Oshawa, Ontario in game three of their OHL semifinal series.
And this one was all Ottawa. Mitchell Hoelscher actually equalled Jack Hughes’ point output today with two points of his own (they were both assists) and the 67’s cruised to a 5-1 victory.
Tye Felhaber kicked off the scoring at the 10:06 mark of the first. From there, the 67’s specialty teams were in focus.
Nikita Okhotyuk was called for interference at 18:22 and at 18:53, on the penalty kill, Jack Quinn scored to make it 2-0. Hoelscher got his first assist – the lone assist on the goal – on this one.
The Generals cut the lead in half when Nicolas Mattinen scored 10:43 into the second period, but that was all Oshawa would get.
At 12:59, Marco Rossi scored on the power play to give Ottawa the 3-1 lead. With 29 seconds to go in the second, Lucas Chiodo scored from Kyle Maksimovich and Hoelscher to make it 4-1. Bringing things around full-circle, Felhaber scored the final goal of the afternoon at 3:51 of the third to give us our final of 5-1 67’s.
On the power play, Ottawa was 1-for-5, drawing five power plays and only giving up two, staying disciplined. Oshawa was 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
In goal, Michael DiPietro stopped 28-of-29 Generals shots while Kyle Keyser for Oshawa was equal to 35 of the 40 shots Ottawa peppered him with.
Hoelscher’s stat line saw him with the two assists for two points, a plus-2 plus/minus and three shots on goal. He was 9-for-13 on faceoffs taken.
The 67’s remain undefeated throughout the OHL playoffs and will play game four, looking for their third straight sweep of an opponent, on Wednesday, April 24 at 7:05 PM from Oshawa.