IIHF World Championship Gets Under Way

The 2019 IIHF World Championship kicked off today in Slovakia with a slate of games featuring some current Devils and a pair of could-be future Devils in Jack Hughes (USA) and Kaapo Kakko (Finland).

First up was a 3-1 Finnish win over Canada. Kakko, who is currently projected to go second overall in the 2019 NHL Draft but could conceivably go first if he has a really impressive showing in this tournament, scored two of the Finns’ three goals.

Kakko got the Finns on the board 6:47 into the game when he took a beautiful touch pass from Toni Rajala through the neutral zone and beat Canadian goaltender Matt Murray with a nice move. That made it 1-0 Finland.

At 7:02 of the first, Henri Jokiharju of Finland was caught with a high-stick and Canada converted on the ensuing power play, with Jonathan Marchessault scoring at 8:03 (getting a setup from his Vegas Golden Knights teammate Mark Stone). That knotted things at one.

But that was all Canada could muster. After a scoreless, penalty-free second period, we were set up for a high stakes third period and the Finns were the ones that took advantage.

Just 2:29 into the frame, Devils defenseman Damon Severson cross-checked Kakko and the Finns were on the power play. It took less than ten seconds for Arttu Ilomaki to convert to put Finland up 2-1. That goal would prove to be the game-winner as Kakko would score into an empty net while Murray was pulled for the extra attacker.

That made our final 3-1. Murray stopped 21 of 24 Finnish shots while Kevin Lankinen made 20 saves on 21 shots against.

For Canada, Severson had the two minute minor for cross-checking and a shot on goal with an even plus/minus rating in 18:21 of total ice time spread out over 24 shifts. Mackenzie Blackwood is participating in the tournament for Canada, but he was not dressed tonight. Carter Hart served as Murray’s backup.

Kakko had the two goals for two points with six total shots and a plus-2 plus/minus in 15:13 of total ice time.

Next up, Finland takes on Slovakia tomorrow, May 11. Canada will next be in action on Sunday, May 12 against Great Britain.

Staying in Group A, Team USA took on the hosts of the tournament, Slovakia from the Steel Arena in Bratislava. This was a tough one for goalie Cory Schneider, assistant coach John Hynes and Jack Hughes. In what could only be classified as an upset, they lost to the Slovaks, 4-1.

Matus Sukel gave Slovakia the early 1-0 lead just 4:02 into the game. Alex DeBrincat, setup by his Blackhawks teammate Patrick Kane, tied things at the 12:05 mark of the first to get the United States back into things, but that was as close as the Americans would get.

Just 1:22 into the second period, Brady Skjei took a high-sticking penalty to put the US down a man. Fourteen seconds later, Ryan Suter was nabbed for tripping. The Americans were now fighting off a 5-on-3 power play and Slovakia’s Erik Cernak capitalized. He scored at 1:52 to give the Slovaks a 2-1 lead, one which they would never relinquish.

At the 4:58 mark of the second, Tomas Tatar beat Cory to give Slovakia a 3-1 lead. And they would finish things off when Michal Kristof scored 5:54 into the third to make it 4-1.

Cory stopped 32 of 36 shots by the Slovaks while Slovakia’s Patrik Rybar made 25 saves on 26 American shots. Jack Hughes had two of those shots and was an even plus/minus in 13:30 of work spread out over 20 shifts. For the Slovaks, Marian Studenic, a Devils prospect, on their roster. He had an assist on the Sukel goal for a point and was a plus-1 in 14:58 of ice time spread out over 22 shifts.

A stunned American team will now take on France on Sunday in continuing Group A action.

The final game of the day featuring a Devils player and a Devils prospect was Sweden taking on the Czech Republic in Group B. The Czechs came away with the 5-2 win in this one.

The Czechs got on the board very early, with Jakub Vrana scoring just 1:55 into the game for the 1-0 lead.

That held until the second period when, just 24 seconds into the fresh frame, Patric Hornqvist scored to make the game level at one.

Exactly 1:01 after that goal, Czech Republic’s Filip Chytil was called for high-sticking and the Swedes were on the power play. Oskar Lindblom then gave Sweden the lead at the 3:01 mark off assists from Erik Gustafsson and Jesper Bratt. This power play assist gave Bratt his first point of the tournament.

But just before the period was out, at 16:36, Dominik Kubalik knotted the game at two to send it into the third period.

And once again, it only took a few seconds for one of these teams to find the back of the net. Just 33 seconds into the third period, Michael Frolik scored for the Czechs to retake the lead, 3-2.

At the 14:04 mark of the period, things would get a little bit chippy as Sweden’s Elias Pettersson was called for tripping and Hornqvist was given an unsportsmanlike conduct minor. Going off with them was Czech Republic’s Jan Kovar (unsportsmanlike conduct) and Ondrej Palat (interference). With the open ice (on a bigger European rink), Jakub Vrana scored at 15:50 to make it 4-2 Czech Republic.

Sweden, down by two, would try to get the extra attacker on by pulling goalie Henrik Lundqvist. They would not score the two equalizers, but the Czechs did score into an empty net when Kovar deposited the puck to ice the game.

The game ended on a crazy note as four players were assessed roughing minors with less than thirty seconds left in the game. David Sklenicka and Radko Gudas went off for the Czechs while Dennis Rasmussen and Robert Hagg were caught for the Swedes.

Lundqvist made 27 saves on 32 shots against for Sweden in nets while Patrik Bartosak made 30 saves on an identical 32 shots by the Swedes.

Jesper Bratt had the assist for a point, and was a minus-1 plus/minus in 11:44 of ice time over 24 shifts. Jesper Boqvist is on the team but did not dress for this game for the Swedes.

Sweden will play their next game on Sunday against Italy at the Ondrej Nepela Arena in Kosice. We will have coverage of the Switzerland-Italy game tomorrow for you here as well, which will feature Nico Hischier for the Swiss.

Moving back to North America, the Guelph Storm and the Ottawa 67’s faced off in game five of their OHL Final series tied up at two games apiece.

This one was narrowly won by the Storm 4-3 as Ottawa falls to within a game of elimination from the OHL playoffs.

The 67’s got on the board first when Tye Felhaber scored his 16th of the playoffs at the 10:40 mark of the first period. But, just a little over two minutes later, at 12:44, Cedric Ralph of the Storm tied the game at one when he scored just his third of the playoffs.

It would only take 13 seconds for Guelph to take the lead too. Isaac Ratcliffe scored to make it 2-1 at 12:57 and the Storm really were rolling.

Alexey Toropchenko, who has had quite the series, scored 3:40 into the second period to make it 3-1.

Ottawa cut that lead to 3-2 when Sasha Chmelevski scored on the power play at 6:33 of the second. Guelph, however, retook a two goal lead, making it 4-2 when Nate Schnarr notched what would be the game-winner at 12:39 of the second.

Felhaber would score at 11:26 of the third to get Ottawa back within one. They would pull goaltender Cedrick Andree with a little over a minute to go in regulation for the extra attacker, but could not get the game tied up. Guelph hung on to win by a final of 4-3.

In nets, the Storm’s Anthony Popovich made 28 saves on 31 67’s shots. Ottawa’s Andree stopped 25 of the 29 that he saw. The 67’s were 1-for-4 on the power play while the Storm were 0-for-3.

Mitchell Hoelscher had three shots on goal, an even plus/minus and won eight of the 17 faceoffs that he took.

Game six of this series, with Guelph having a chance to wrap things up with a victory, takes place on Sunday at 2 PM in Guelph. The Storm would then go on to represent the OHL in the Memorial Cup. The 67’s will be looking to force a game seven.

Huskies Double Up Mooseheads in Game 5, Go Up 3-2 in Series

The Halifax Mooseheads are one game from losing the QMJHL Finals, losing toinght 6-3 in game five. It was a lot closer than it looked, with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies scoring two empty net goals late in the game.

The majority of the scoring all took place within the first period. Rouyn-Noranda jumped out to a 4-0 lead with four straight unanswered goals in the first frame.

Peter Abbandonato opened the scoring at 5:45 of the first, followed by Rafael Harvey-Pinard at 10:08 which came on the power play. Jakub Lauko put the Huskies up 3-0 when he scored at 1:40 later and William Cyr notched his second of the playoffs at 14:23 to widen the gap to 4-0.

Amazingly, however, the scoring was not over in the first period, as Halifax fought back to cut the lead in half. Arnaud Durandeau scored at 16:29 of the first to get the Mooseheads on the board and break the shutout. Then, with two seconds remaining the the wild opening period, Rapael Lavoie made it 4-2 when he scored from Benoit-Olivier Groulx and Jocktan Chainey.

After a scoreless second period, Samuel Asselin scored just 3:57 into the third on the power play to make it 4-3 Rouyn-Noranda.

Halifax would pull goaltender Alexis Gravel once with about a minute to go but the Huskies’ Rafael Harvey-Pinard potted his second of the game into the empty net. The Mooseheads pulled Gravel again following the faceoff after that goal and Harvey-Pinard scored again into an empty net to complete the hat trick.

In goal, Gravel made 39 saves on 43 shots against for Halifax while Samuel Harvey stopped 18 of 21 for Rouyn-Noranda. Harvey was named the game’s second star while his teammate Joel Teasdale – with four assists on the night – was the game’s first star. Groulx for Halifax was the third star with two assists.

The Mooseheads were 1-for-3 on the power play while the Huskies were 1-for-4.

Chainey had the assist for a point, was a minus-1 and had one shot on goal tonight.

Game six will be played on Saturday, May 11 at 5 PM ET (4 PM local time) in Halifax. The Huskies have a chance to close things out then and head to the Memorial Cup as champions of the QMJHL.

67’s Drop Game to Storm, OHL Finals All Even

It took 14 games for the Ottawa 67’s to lose in this OHL playoff year. Now they have dropped their second straight in the OHL Final. They were edged 5-4 as the Guelph Storm evened up the series at two games apiece.

Ottawa took the lead just 4:48 into the game when Hudson Wilson notched his first of the playoffs to give the 67’s the 1-0 lead.

The 67’s held the lead for about seven or so minutes until Nate Schnarr scored on the power play for Guelph to make it 1-1.

From there, it was all Storm. Alexey Toropchenko scored at 13:29 of the first to make it 2-1, Toropchenko scored again 6:46 into the second period to make it 3-1 and Nick Suzuki scored at 13:34 of the second to make it 4-1. That was four unanswered for the Storm and they had built up a nice lead for themselves.

Ottawa got one from Lucas Chiodo at the end of the second (18:22) to get Ottawa back on the board and make it 4-2. Chiodo, who ended the game with a goal and an assist was named the third star of the night. The Storm’s Toropchenko was second star with two goals and Guelph’s Suzuki was the first star with his goal and the primary helper on the game-winner for the Storm.

That game-winning goal would come off of the stick of Liam Hawel on the power play 2:28 into the third period. It was now 5-2 Guelph.

Ottawa would fight back, though. Tye Felhaber scored on the power play at the 16:05 mark of the third to make it 5-3. The 67’s then pulled goaltender Cedrick Andree with a little under three minutes to go. That would result in a Kyle Maksimovich goal with three seconds left in regulation to make it 5-4 Guelph. But it was too little, too late and the Storm got the W and tied the series up at 2-2.

In a penalty-filled game that featured a scrap 6:26 into the second between Ottawa’s Merrick Rippon and Guelph’s Zachary Roberts (Roberts got a ten-minute misconduct penalty along with the five minute fighting major), the 67’s were 1-for-4 on the power play. The Storm were 2-for-4 with the man advantage.

In goal, Guelph’s Anthony Popovich stopped 30 of the 34 shots he saw while Ottawa’s Andree turned aside 19 of 24 shots faced.

Mitchell Hoelscher was a minus-1 plus/minus and won two of the ten faceoffs that he took.

Game five will take place on Friday, May 10 in Ottawa at TD Place at 7 PM. We will find out then if the Storm can take the commanding 3-2 series lead or if the 67’s can get back to the winning ways that they have enjoyed throughout most of these playoffs.

Chainey Scores as Mooseheads Tie Series

The Halifax Mooseheads have knotted up their QMJHL Final series with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies at two games apiece following a 5-1 clobbering at home tonight.

Benoit-Olivier Groulx got the Mooseheads the early lead when he scored just 3:43 into the game. In a game that Halifax needed, this was a great way to get things going for the Mooseheads.

The Huskies tied things midway through the first frame when Peter Abbandonato scored on the power play. That would be the only time Rouyn-Noranda would beat Halifax goaltender Alexis Gravel.

Halifax took control of the game from there, scoring at 7:54 of the second (Samuel Asselin), 16:43 of the second (Jocktan Chainey), 17:12 of the third (Arnaud Durandeau) and 18:30 on the power play (Maxim Trepanier). Durandeau had three points in the game (one goal and two assists) and Trepanier had a goal and two assists. Groulx also registered the goal and an assist as well.

Durandeau was also named the game’s first star while Trepanier was the third. Second star was none other than Chainey, who had the goal for a point, was a plus-2 plus/minus and had four shots on goal (one of which was considered a dangerous chance – likely the goal – by the QMJHL statisticians).

On the power play, Rouyn-Noranda was 1-for-5 while the Mooseheads were 1-for-4. In goal, Gravel let in only one shot of 30 faced, making 29 saves. For the Huskies, Samuel Harvey stopped 32 of 37 Halifax shots faced in taking the loss.

Game five of this series will shift back to Rouyn-Noranda on Thursday, May 9 at 7 PM. The series is tied at two games each.

67’s Dealt First Defeat of OHL Playoffs

It took three and a half playoff rounds, but the Ottawa 67’s finally lost a playoff game in 2019. They lost game three of the OHL Finals tonight to the Guelph Storm 7-2.

Isaac Ratcliffe got Guelph on the board early, just 4:08 in, when he scored to make it 1-0 Storm.

But Ottawa stayed in things, tying it up on a Sasha Chmelevski power play goal at the 5:23 mark of the first.

The Storm broke the 1-1 tie midway through the first when Alexey Toropchenko notched his first of two on the night at 11:41 of the first. Toropchenko was on his way to being named the first star of the night by the media.

Guelph began to pull away 59 seconds into the second period when Nate Schnarr scored what would go down as the game winning goal. That made it 3-1 Storm.

Ottawa clawed back in to the game, making it 3-2 when Graeme Clarke scored 6:30 into the second, but from there, the Storm scored four unanswered to take the game.

First Toropchenko scored his second of the night to make it 4-2 at the 16:31 mark of the third. Then MacKenzie Entwistle found twine 7:49 into the third to make it 5-2. Ratcliffe, en route to being named the game’s second star, scored his second of the night at the 14:45 mark of the third to make it 6-2. Entwistle, named the game’s third star, capped things off by beating Ottawa goalie Cedrick Andree at 16:33 of the third.

Things were pretty even special teams-wise with Ottawa going 1-for-4 on the power play while Guelph was 0-for-4. Andree made 29 saves on 36 Storm shots while Anthony Popovich was equal to 18 of Ottawa’s 20 shots on goal in the winning effort.

Mitchell Hoelscher ended the game with a minus-2 plus/minus, two penalty minutes (a cross-checking penalty at the 16:31 mark of the second period) and the center was 6-for-15 in the faceoff circle.

Game four will come to us from the Sleeman Centre in Guelph, Ontario on Wednesday, May 8 at 7 PM. Ottawa still enjoys a 2-1 series lead.

Meanwhile, in the Q, the Halifax Mooseheads were back at home against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies for game three of their President Cup Final. This one saw the Huskies take a 2-1 series edge, winning the game 5-2.

The main Devils-related news for this one was the return to the Halifax lineup of Jocktan Chainey from injury. He ended the night with an even plus/minus and two shots on goal.

As for the game itself, Joel Teasdale scored the opener and the final goal of the evening for Rouyn-Noranda, sandwiched by two Justin Bergeron goals and a Tyler Hinam goal.

Teasdale scored his first just 2:55 into the game. At the 7;47 mark of the first, Benoit-Olivier Groulx tied things for Halifax.

But the Huskies would take a 3-1 lead before the first period was out. Bergeron scored at the 10:35 mark (shorthanded while Jakub Lauko was off for slashing) and again at the 14:12 mark for Rouyn-Noranda.

Bergeron was named the game’s first star of the night. Rafael Harvey-Pinard of the Huskies, with a pair of helpers, was the second star and Groulx of the Mooseheads was the third star.

The second period saw Samuel Asselin keep Halifax going with a goal 7:37 into the second frame on the power play. However, Hinam scored his goal at 16:03 to make it 4-2 Huskies.

Teasdale scored his second of the night with less than a minute to play into an empty net at the 19:17 mark of the third. Halifax had pulled goalie Alexis Gravel for the man advantage. That goal from Teasdale gave us our final of 5-2.

Goaltender Samuel Harvey made 31 saves on 33 shots against for Rouyn-Noranda. Gravel stopped 30 of 34 shots against in taking the loss. The Huskies were 0-for-2 on the power play, but did have the shorty while Halifax was 1-for-5.

Game four of this series will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, May 7 at 8 PM local time, 7 PM ET. That game is from Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.

67’s Outlast Storm, Take 2-0 Lead in OHL Final

The Ottawa 67’s remained undefeated in the OHL playoffs, winning their amazing 14th straight game this spring by defeating the Guelph Storm by a score of four to three. They are now halfway to sweeping the OHL Finals.

The Storm jumped out to the early 1-0 lead when Alexey Toropchenko scored on the power play 12:59 in to the game. Keegan Stevenson doubled their lead less than a minute later at 13:57.

But with twenty seconds to go in the first frame, Austen Keating scored a power play goal for Ottawa to cut the Guelph lead in half. From there, the 67’s scored three more unanswered to jump out to a 4-2 lead.

Kyle Maksimovich scored 1:31 into the second, Tye Felhaber scored at the 6:43 mark of the second and Sasha Chmelevski scored at 12:51 to give Ottawa two goal lead at the end of two periods of play.

The Storm added one from Toropchenko 1:15 into the third to make it 4-3. Guelph had a power play with three minutes to go when Maksimovich was called for high-sticking late, but could not score.

Guelph ended the game 1-for-2 on the power play while the 67’s were 1-for-3. In goal, Anthony Popovich made 37 saves on 41 shots for Guelph while Michael DiPietro started for the 67’s but only played 14:50, making seven saves on nine shots against. Cedrick Andree came on for Ottawa midway through the first period and ended up making 26 saves on 27 Storm shots in 45:10 of action.

Mitchell Hoelscher ended the game with a plus-1 plus/minus, two shots on goal and won seven of the 15 faceoffs he took.

Game three of this series is Monday, May 6 at 7 PM from the Sleeman Centre in Guelph.

Mooseheads Tie Series Up With Win in Two OTs

The Halifax Mooseheads tied their QMJHL President Cup Final series up at a game apiece with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies late last night with a two overtime victory in game two.

Devils prospect Jocktan Chainey did not play as he was injured in the third period of game one.

Halifax took the early lead just 4:25 into the game when Keith Getson beat Rouyn-Noranda goalie Samuel Harvey. The Huskies would knot things again just 1:10 later when Rafael Harvey-Pinard scored. Harvey-Pinard would go on to be the game’s second star of the night with a goal and two assists.

At 6:12 of the first period, Joel Teasdale gave the Huskies the 2-1 lead. But before the first intermission, Benoit-Olivier Groulx (who would score the game-winner in the second OT and be named the game’s first star with two goals on the night) scored to tie things up at two.

The second period saw Arnaud Durandeau score (with Groulx picking up the primary assist) to make it 3-2 Halifax at 6:52 into the frame.

But the Huskies would storm back to take the lead late in the second period. At 12:58, Noah Dobson tied it at three and at 18:10 Felix Bibeau gave Rouyn-Noranda the 4-3 lead. Dobson’s goal, on the power play, was the only power play goal of the night for either team. The Mooseheads went 0-for-3 with the man advantage while Rouyn-Noranda was 1-for-4.

And that was it for the Huskies’ scoring. Raphael Lavoie (who was named the game’s third star) tied the game just 1:42 into the third period. From there, tied up at four apiece, we headed into almost two and a half periods of scoreless hockey.

It was not until the 9:53 mark of the second overtime period that Groulx beat Harvey to give the Mooseheads the 5-4 win. He got assists from Maxim Trepanier and Jared McIsaac on the goal.

In goal for the Mooseheads, Alexis Gravel made 41 stops on 45 shots through 89:53 of work while Harvey stopped 49 of 54 Halifax shots in the same amount of time.

Game three of the series is on Monday, May 6 at Halifax. Puck drop is 6 PM ET.

67’s, Hoelscher Roll to Another Playoff Win

The Ottawa 67’s and Mitchell Hoelscher had yet to lose a playoff game through the first three rounds of the 2019 Ontario Hockey League playoffs. They had won 12 straight games and tonight they began the OHL Final against the Guelph Storm and, once again, rolled on to victory. They beat Guelph by a score of 7-2 at TD Place in Ottawa. Ottawa now takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Sasha Chmelevski scored to give Ottawa the early 1-0 lead at 3:46 of the first period. He would go on to score two for the 67’s and be named the game’s third star of the night. Tye Felhaber added one late in the first, he too would score two on the night and be named the game’s second star. Felhaber’s first came on the power play for the 67’s.

The second period saw Lucas Chiodo score just 54 seconds in off an assist from Hoelscher. That made it 3-0 Ottawa.

But the Storm would fight back into things in the second frame. Isaac Ratcliffe scored at 1:50 and Nick Suzuki scored at the 10:16 mark to make it 3-2 67’s. Suzuki’s goal was on the power play.

That was as close as Guelph would get. Ottawa poured it on in the late-second and third periods scoring four unanswered from Marco Rossi (15:24 of the second), Chmelevski (10:36 of the third on the power play), Noel Hoefenmayer (11:31 of the third on the power play) and Felhaber (12:12 of the third on the power play) to give us our final of 7-2.

In a game filled with penalties, there was a scrap at the 6:34 mark of the second with Sam Bitten (Ottawa) going at it with Alexey Toropchenko (Guelph). Both received five minutes for fighting with Bitten taking the instigator and a ten-minute misconduct as well. Kody Clark of Ottawa was also assessed a goalie interference minor on the same play. In addition, at 8:14 of the third period, Guelph’s Fedor Gordeev took a five minute boarding major that also drew a game misconduct.

The goalies saw the Storm’s Anthony Popovich make 19 saves on 26 Ottawa shots. For the 67’s, Michael DiPietro turned aside a huge 37 of 39 shots against. He was named the game’s first star. Guelph was 1-for-8 on the power play while Ottawa was actually 4-for-3, scoring three times on the Gordeev boarding major.

Hoelscher’s stats saw him with the assist for a point, a plus-1 plus/minus, one shots on goal, four penalty minutes (a hooking penalty at 15:50 of the second and a tripping minor at 12:41 of the third) and ten faceoffs won on 17 taken.

Game two will take place on Saturday, May 4 at 2 PM ET from Ottawa.

A little bit east of Ottawa, game one of the Quebec League finals was also taking place tonight, pitting the Halifax Mooseheads and Jocktan Chainey against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Halifax dropped this one 5-2 to go down in this best-of-seven series 1-0.

The Huskies scored just 4:01 into the game when Rafael Harvey-Pinard made it 1-0. Felix Bibeau made it 2-0 at 9:34, but Justin Barron would get Halifax on the board before the first was out, scoring at 14:50 of the opening frame.

Noah Dobson scored on the power play to make it 3-1 at 7:38 of the second. But the Mooseheads would stay in things when Raphael Lavoie scored shorthanded at 13:57. Halifax was killing an Arnaud Durandeau elbowing minor penalty at the time. That made it 3-2.

But In the third period, Rouyn-Noranda got one more goal each from Harvey-Pinard and Bibeau (on the power play) to cap it off at 5-2.

This was another penalty-heavy game leaning towards the Mooseheads, with Halifax going 0-for-1 on the man advantage plus the shorthanded goal, while the Huskies were 2-for-9.

In goal, Alexis Gravel made 32 saves on 37 shots for Halifax while Rouyn-Noranda’s Samuel Harvey stopped 34 of 36 Mooseheads shots in getting the win.

Chainey was a minus-1 plus/minus and registered one hit in the game.

Game two of the President Cup Final will come to us from Rouyn-Noranda at 7 PM ET tomorrow, May 3.

Also of note was that the Western Hockey League recently named Devils prospect Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs their 2018-19 WHL Defenseman of the Year. Congratulations to him and it will be great to likely see him in a Devils uniform next season.

In addition to all of that, the 2019 IIHF World Championship is quickly coming up on us, starting May 10 from Slovakia. Nico Hischier will be representing Switzerland and Cory Schneider and coach John Hynes will be a part of the United States squad. In addition, other Devils-related players involved with the tournament will be Jesper Bratt and Jesper Boqvist of Sweden and Mackenzie Blackwood and Damon Severson of Canada.

In addition, possible future Devils first overall picks Jack Hughes (USA) and Kaapo Kakku (Finland) will be participating. It should be a great tournament and we will have coverage of it right here for you.

USA Wins Bronze at U18’s

Jack Hughes and Team USA won the bronze medal at the IIHF U18 World Championship by defeating Canada 5-2 earlier today. Hughes had a goal and two assists.

The US got on the board early on the power play. Canada’s Jamieson Rees got sent off for tripping at 6:56 of the first period and Alex Turcotte, set up by Hughes, converted to make it 1-0 USA at 8:03.

Canada would return the favor before the first period was over, also scoring on the power play to tie the game up. Trevor Zegras of the US was off for slashing while the Americans were on the power play. That made it 4-on-4 for about 53 seconds (Canada’s Dylan Holloway was called for a trip at 15:59) and when that expired, the Canadians had the man advantage. Dylan Cozens then scored at 19:06 to even the score at one.

But the US would take control in the second period. First, Hughes scored at 6:54 to make it 2-1 USA. Bobby Brink added a power play goal at 12:59 to make it 3-1 and Cam York scored while the US was on a 5-on-3 power play to make it 4-1.

York added another one on the power play in the third to make it 5-1. Nathan Legare of Canada scored with six seconds remaining in the game to make it 5-2 but that was just window dressing. The USA had wrapped up the bronze medal.

In goal, Nolan Maier made 36 saves on 41 shots for Canada while Spencer Knight stopped 21 of 23 for the Americans.

Jack Hughes finished the game with the goal and two assists for three points, five shots on goal and an even plus/minus rating.

He finishes the tournament as the leading scorer with nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points, eight penalty minutes and a plus-10 plus/minus. According to Marc Ciampa of NewJerseyDevils.com, Hughes’ 14 goals and 18 assists over the last two of these tournaments gives him a tournament record 32 points over 14 games. Alex Ovechkin previously held the record with 31 points over 14 games over two years. Ciampa also said that Hughes’ 20 points this tournament left him one shy of the single tournament record of 21 , set by Nikita Kucherov. Those are some lofty heights and big names Hughes is running with there.

In addition, Hughes was named to the Media All-Star Team for the tournament, joining teammates Cole Caufield (forward) and Cam York (defense) along with goalie Yaroslav Askarov (Russia), defenseman Philip Broberg (Sweden) and forward Rodion Amirov (Russia) on the team. Caufield was named tournament MVP.

While all of that was going on in Sweden, Joctan Chainey’s Halifax Mooseheads were back in North America taking their series with the Drummondville Voltigeurs four games to one with a 2-1 overtime win in game six.

Arnaud Durandeau gave Halifax the 1-0 lead when he scored from Benoit-Olivier Groulx and Chainey 8:28 into the first. It remained this way until the 12:50 mark of the second when Gregor MacLeod scored to tie things for Drummondville. From there, we settled into almost two full periods of scoreless, nail-biting hockey.

When regulation ended with the game tied at one apiece, it was off to OT. And it would only take 2:22 of play for Xavier Parent to score the game-winner from Joel Bishop and Keith Getson to give the Mooseheads the 2-1 win and the series.

Each team only had one power play (both going 0-for-1), as the refs let the boys play. There was the Halifax power play plus matching minors in teh first period and the Drummondville power play occurring in the second. And that was it.

In goal, the Voltigeurs’ Anthony Morrone stopped 27 of 29 shots in 62:22 of work in going on to be named the game’s second star. Mooseheads goalie Alexis Gravel was named the first star, stopping 33 of 34 shots against also in 62:22. Parent was named the game’s third star with the game-winning goal.

Chainey had the assist for a point, was a plus-1 plus/minus and had a shot on goal in the game.

Halifax, who will be hosting the Memorial Cup next month, will now move on to play for the President Cup, facing the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. The final series will start Thursday, May 2 at Arena Iamgold.

Over in the Ontario Hockey League, the Ottawa 67’s are still awaiting their opponents in the OHL Final since the Guelph Storm have come back to force a game seven with the Saginaw Spirit. Game seven of that series will take place on Monday at Saginaw with the winner going on to face the 67’s in the Final.

USA Loses U18 Semifinal in Shootout

The US will not be playing for gold at the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship. In a bit of a stunner, the Americans lost in a shootout to Russia, 3-2, in the semifinals, sending the Russians to the gold medal game against either Canada or Sweden.

After a scoreless first period that did feature 10 minutes of penalties for the Russians – with Jack Hughes taking the only penalty for the US in the frame (an interference call) – the Russians took the lead in the second.

The second period go ahead goal came shorthanded for Russia. Ivan Rogov was called for a late hit at 18:12 of the second and just 12 seconds into killing the penalty, Russia got on the board. Rodion Amirov scored at 18:24 to make it 1-0 Russia.

A seven minute flurry of activity in the third left us tied again. It began when Cole Caufield scored to tie the game at one 12 seconds into the third frame. Jack Hughes got the primary assist, his only point on the afternoon, while Cam York got the other assist.

Three minutes and four seconds later, the Americans took their first (and, as it turned out, only) lead of the day when Caufield scored again to make it 2-1 USA.

But it only took Russia 4:11 to get that one back. Semyon Chistyakov leveled the game at two when he scored at 7:27. And then we settled in for a scoreless rest of the third. When the horn sounded, it would be overtime.

And this one had some drama. With 46 seconds left in the OT period, Russia took a bench minor for too many men on the ice. The Americans were poised to win it, but time ran out on them and we would go to a shootout to settle things.

Alex Turcotte of the USA went first, but lost the puck off of his stick. Yegor Chinakhov was stopped by US goalie Spencer Knight. Caufield then went and he too lost control of the puck. Vasili Podkolzin’s shot went wide of Knight and Hughes was up. He also lost the puck and it was Amirov’s turn. He scored and the USA’s Trevor Zegras went. He was stopped by Russian goalie Yaroslav Askarov. Areseni Gritsyuk was stopped by Knight and it was up to Matthew Boldy to keep the US alive. His attempt was saved by Askarov and Russia picked up the 3-2 victory.

For the Americans, a team that had overwhelmed their opponents by blitzing them offensively, this was a shocker.

Including the shootout, Knight stopped 31 of 34 Russian shot attempts while Askarov made a phenomenal 40 saves on 42 American shots on goal.

Hughes had the assist for a point, the two penalty minutes, seven total shots on goal and an even plus/minus rating.

The USA will now take on the winner of the Canada-Sweden game, which is ongoing now and tied up at two. That game will be tomorrow, the 28th and be for the bronze medal.