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U-18 World Hockey Championship Roundup: USA, Finland Still Perfect; Canada, Sweden Win

Finland and USA stay perfect, while Canada and Sweden both overcame difficult Day 1 performances to earn wins on Day 2 in Germany.
2022 IIHF U18_1

Dominant Second Half Does the Trick for USA

Czechia would score first, but five unanswered goals helped the United States cruise to an eventual 6-2 win to stay undefeated.

The Americans now have 14 goals in two games, the most of any team after the first weekend of action with wins against Canada and now Czechia.

But it didn't start off well for the Americans. On a penalty shot at 12:01, Jiri Kulich scored to beat Tyler Muszelik for the lone marker of the first. 

Fortunately for the Americans, considered to be the favorite to win gold, a four-goal second period put the game out of reach. Isaac Howard scored his tournament-leading fifth goal of the tournament after skating around the Czechia zone uncontested before unleashing a wrister to beat Michael Schnattinger. Jimmy Snuggerud and Ryan Leonard would score exactly 30 seconds apart at 28:26 and 28:56, respectively, to suddenly take full control of the game.

Rutger McGroarty's first goal of the game at 32:37 made it 4-1 before the second break of the game, only to have Logan Cooley make it 5-1 at 48:35. Lukas Plos' goal at 52:35 gave Czechia a bit of momentum, but McGroarty scored again on the next shift to put the game truly out of reach.

Canada Stops Germany to Win First Game

After a crushing 8-3 loss to the United States, Canada looked good against Germany and won 8-3 themselves.

Canada was unable to score on an early five-minute power play, but Grayden Siepmann would open the scoring at 7:16 with a screened shot from the point. He then helped set up David Goyette to make it 2-0 at 7:40 to put Canada safely in the lead.

Canada doubled up on its advantage in the second. Connor Bedard scored his second of the tournament after taking Adam Fantilli's feed at 4:36, and Brayden Schuurman scored on the next good Canadian scoring rush to make it 4-0.

But Germany wasn't going to back down without giving its fans something to cheer about. At 31:58, Julien Lutz's point shot beat traffic and Nolan Lalonde to make it 4-1. Then, three minutes later, Roman Kechter scored on the power play after knocking in Lutz's shot to make it 4-2 to put some fear into Canada's eyes.

A power-play goal from Lutz 25 seconds into the third closed the gap to 4-3, but Canada's third-period explosion nullified things a bit. Bedard scored a pair of goals just over a minute apart and Matthew Wood made it 7-3, giving Canada three goals in 3:18 of play before the frame hit the six-minute mark to finish off the game.

Sweden's Strong Third Period Results In 6-2 Win

Sweden didn't lead until the third period, but when they finally got back into the game, they came out looking strong with a 6-2 win over Switzerland.

The game needed nearly 31 minutes to break the dead heat. Antoine Guignard made it 1-0 on the power-play after his shot was directed in by Swedish defender Dennis Good Bogg, who stepped on the puck and slipped it into his own net trying to regain his balance.

Less than two minutes later, the Swedes battled back. This time, Oliver Pettersson found Leo Carlsson streaking in all alone, and Carlsson made no mistake on a quick shot to make it 1-1. The tie lasted until the final minute of the second, where Gregory Weber walked in close and regained the Swiss advantage heading into the second break.

Sweden needed a big third period, and they got it. Jonathan Lekkerimaki tied the game up once more on a breakaway goal at 43:04, only to have Carlsson score again just over a minute later. Noah Ostlund and Fabian Wagner scored one each and Lekkeriamki added another to put Sweden at six to complete the comeback.

Finland Prevents Second Latvian Shocker

Finland wouldn't fall victim to what plagued Sweden on Saturday, beating Latvia 4-1 to stay perfect through the weekend's action in Germany.

Latvia wasn't able to take the momentum from its huge win against Sweden on Saturday. Thankfully, all eight teams make the playoffs, so a loss won't hurt them in that regard.

Despite a 1-1 tie heading into the opening intermission, the game was firmly in Finland's control. Kasper Halttunen's wrister would beat Lindards Feldbergs at 11:56 after some good opportunities for the Finns. But Dans Locmelis' penalty shot goal with under two minutes left meant the game would be knotted at one apiece heading into the first break. 

The second period is where things fell apart for Latvia. Goals two minutes apart from Jere Lassila and Elmeri Laakso put the Finns ahead to the point where Latvia just couldn't keep up. Kasper Halttunen scored the back-breaker at 44:33 to secure the win, with Topias Leinonen stopping every shot he faced in regulation for the victory.

Notes:

- Otto Hokkanen was suspended one game after a hit from behind in the game against Switzerland on Saturday. He missed the game against Latvia but is eligible to return against Sweden on Tuesday.

- Dominik Petr was forced to leave Czechia's game on a stretcher after an awkward fall following a hit from Ryan Leonard. Leonard tried to get up on his own, but ultimately couldn't put pressure on his feet. Czech coach Jakub Petr, Dominik's dad, said Dominik has a lower-body injury and there is no timeline for his return.

- Germany's Moritz Elias was ejected from the game against Canada just nine seconds into the game after hitting Josh Filmon in the head. A suspension is expected.

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