BASEL, Switzerland — Saturday was the quietest day of the U-18 World Championship so far with just one game per city. And, sadly for viewers, no game was even remotely close.
The Czechs kicked off Ajoie with a 7-1 win, giving them their first of the tournament. In Basel, the United States scored four times in the first half and never looked back, eventually scorching Norway 12-1.
USA crush Norway 12-1
- With four goals and five points, Gabriel Perreault pointed to everyone’s drawing boards and laughed. The son of former NHL faceoff ace Yanic Perreault, Gabriel broke the USNTDP all-time record of 117 points that Auston Matthews previously set. Publicly, Perreault has nowhere in the top 10, but today’s performance was one of the best games by anyone in the draft this year. He also landed some powerful bulldozer-like shots that helped him establish his dominance.
- As always, Perreault’s main preparer was Will Smith, who scored once and added three assists. It seems like Smith takes every game a bit to get the momentum going, but once he got that first point, he seemed to find Perreault every time they hit the ice together.
- cole eiserman was eclipsed despite scoring four goals. Slated to be a top-three finisher in the 2024 NHL Draft, Eiserman fired his pinpoint shot every chance he could. His chemistry with James Hagens was well documented, but Eiserman was turned off as a minor player. And you’re going to see his name here a few more times over the next week.
- Congratulations to will vote, part of the United States secondary attack. It raised a few eyebrows to see him play with Eiserman and Hagens, but he played his best game in quite a while with his efficiency in the offensive zone. He registered three assists and even attempted a lacrosse goal early in the third as well.
- He had nothing to prove on the score sheet, but Drew Fortescue was America’s best defender tonight. He was committed to the attack, took chances with the extra ice Norway gave him and landed some big hits. It’s hard to get a real read on a guy in a lopsided game like this, but it was a good performance.
- After scoring the eighth goal for the United States, the Norwegian goalkeeper Marius Bjornsgaard came in and made some big saves, including a nice extended glove save on Smith. Sure, he allowed a goal on the first scoring chance he encountered, but given the situation, he made big saves against a determined American offense.
Czechia smokes Germany 7-1
- Sale Edward has been a point of contention for scouts this year. His skills are some of the best in the draft, and when they’re on display, he’s unstoppable. And then it feels like he naps too much during games some other nights and you never notice him. Today, with a shorthanded goal and another on a penalty shot in the first period, Sale regained full control. Easily the best player on the ice today.
- Michael Hrabal had another great game for the Czechs, stopping 29 shots in the win. He made 39 saves in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to Slovakia, keeping his side despite being heavily outplayed. He didn’t need to be special tonight, but he’s been the tournament’s best goalkeeper so far.
- His goals didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, but Vojtech Hradec scored in consecutive shifts to make it 6-0. The 6ft 3in striker, who is not eligible until 2024, hasn’t had much to show on the scoresheet this year with the Czech U-18 side, so it was a good one little confidence booster.
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