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U-18 World Championship Roundup: Quarterfinal Matchups Set

The four quarterfinal matchups have been set after victories to Switzerland, Czechia, USA and Sweden finished off group play at the men's U-18 World Championship in Germany.
2022 IIHF U18_1

Switzerland Takes 4-3 Thriller Over Latvia

Wins aren't coming easy at the U-18 World Championship, and Switzerland learned that after winning its first game of the tournament after three days of action to beat Latvia 4-3.

Switzerland finished group play in third place and will face Czechia on Thursday. Latvia will play the United States that same day, with the Americans looking strong with a perfect 3-0-0 record.

Eriks Mateiko didn't need long to open the scoring for Latvia after directing a shot from Martins Krukltis at 1:22. Switzerland answered back quickly, with Simone Terraneo scoring a minute later to make it 1-1 in what was already shaping up to be a barnburner. 

Emils Veckaktins scored to give Latvia the 2-1 advantage before the end of the first period, further showing how strong of a team Latvia can be at points after a good start to the tournament with a win against Sweden.

The second period, though, wasn't as good for the Latvians. Noah Grueter and Matthew Reinhard scored three minutes apart at 24:14 and 27:39 respectively, but Davids Livsics kept the game tied with a goal with 10 seconds left in the period for Latvia. The game stayed knotted until 50:51, when Cyril Pont's wrister beat Deivs Rolovs for the go-ahead marker. Latvia tried desperately to beat Alessio Beglieri one more time, but Switzerland did enough to hold on to win the game 4-3.

Czechia Takes Advantage of Man Advantage to Beat Canada

Czechia has finished second in Group A after beating Canada 6-5 in overtime, highlighted by five goals on the power play and three goals from Jiri Kulich.

Canada finished third in the group and will meet up with Finland as the second seed from Group B.

The game started off well for Canada, where Nicholas Moldenhauer got the game going at 1:55. But at 5:59, just five seconds into a penalty to Michael Mastrodomenico, Adam Bares' power-play marker tied it up, a tie that would last until the end of the first period. 

The Kulich show took over from there. At 21:35 on the power play, Kulich scored his first goal of the game, but the Czechs took a penalty on the next play that took away the team's momentum. Adam Fantilli needed 19 seconds to knot it up at two apiece at 22:38 to capitalize on what had been a good first half for the 2023 draft prospect. 

But the Czechs wouldn't back down. At 27:29, Jan Gaspar's goal went in on a two-man advantage, a controversial play that Canada argued after a Czech player's stick got stuck between the pads of Reid Dyck. The goal was deemed good, and after killing another penalty as a result of a failed review attempt, Canada got a goal from Lukas Dragicevic on a 2-on-1 to make it 3-3. Kulich's second of the night -- another power-play goal -- at 35:15 restored Czechia's lead heading into the final stretch of play. In the third, a pair of goals from Grayden Siepmann and Kocha Delic appeared to put Canada in a safe spot. 

The Czechs, giving it everything they had, forced overtime with a goal at 57:26. Tomas Hamara's blast was enough to beat Dyck, who, despite allowing six goals, was Canada's best player, with just one even-strength goal allowed. Kulich's hat-trick goal on a power play in overtime sealed the deal to give the Czechs the extra point they needed to take second in the group and a meeting with Switzerland on Thursday.

USA Walks All Over Germany

The Americans will end round-robin play as the only team with a perfect record after beating Germany 10-2.

USA will meet up with Latvia, the lowest-seeded team in Group B, in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Cole Spicer and Rutger McGroarty and had two goals each, while Cruz Lucius had three assists. Cutter Gauthier, Charlie Stramel and Devin Kaplan all scored goals for the Americans, too. 

Daniel Assavolyuk scored the lone goal for Germany on the power play late to give the home crowd something to get excited for. Luca Hauf scored a second for Germany, but late goals from Smith and Seamus Casey made it 10-2

The Americans dominated the game on the shot counter, beating Germany 54-19 in that department. 

Sweden Wins Group B With 4-3 Win Over Finland

After a tough start to the tournament with a loss to Latvia, Sweden has taken the top spot in Group B after beating Finland 4-3 on Tuesday.

Sweden will now face Germany in the crossover quarterfinal game, while Finland will look to beat Canada. 

Mattias Havelid's goal at 10:29 gave the Swedes its first lead of the game. It lasted just six minutes, when Topi Ronni made it 1-1, but a power-play goal by Tim Almgren at 17:46 put Sweden back in front with a 2-1 lead before the end of the first. 

The second period was where the Swedes really took over. Filip Bystedt made it 3-1 at 8:05 and Havelid scored a second goal at 11:13 to give Sweden a big three-goal advantage. Finland got goals from Lenni Hameenaho and a second from Ronni to make it close, but Sweden had better control of the opportunities late in the game to seal the deal.

News and Notes

- Germany's Moritz Elias and Canada's Spencer Sova both received one-game suspensions for hits in the same game on Sunday evening. Both are eligible to return for the quarterfinals.

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