The 2018 World Junior Championships was played this year on January 5th in Buffalo, New York, at the Key Bank Center. The teams to make it to the final championships were Canada, Sweden and the United States.
Breakout players included the United States’ University of Minnesota freshman, Casey Mittelstadt, playing center. According to the NHL, his three assists during the December 29th game helped him stand out in this tournament.
Canada’s own Drake Batherson helped out with a few power plays, according to the NHL. His coach, Dominique Ducharme, even commented, “He came in and had to fight for his spot until the last moment, but we could see from one day to the other, he was always getting better and adjusting. He was working hard. He’s a smart kid. He’s got great skills. He just kept going.”
According to the NHL, Jesper Sellgren from Sweden also stood out in the tournament. This defenseman had seven points, two goals and five assists. His coach, Tomas Monten, even said about the five-foot-eleven player, “He can skate, move the puck, play with grit but he is good defensively too. He’s a Tobias Enstrom type of player.”
In the quarter finals, Sweden won against Slovakia, 3-2; USA won against Russia, 4-2; Canada won against Switzerland, 8-2; and the Czech Republic won against Finland, 4-3.
In the semifinals, Sweden won against USA, 4-2, and Canada won against the Czech Republic, 7-2.
In the end, Canada came out on top with the gold, Sweden was awarded the silver and USA won the bronze.
According to USA Today, the United States’ performance was just shy of dismal.
Rasmus Dahlin is an invaluable player to the Sweden and the obvious #1 pick in next year’s NHL draft–though based on his talents, he may soon outgrow Sweden. In fact, he’s the one to watch on the Swedish Olympic hockey team in Seoul this year.
Brady Tkachuk’s performance was much better during the championships and might even solidify his No. 2 ranking in the 2018 draft.
Though the crowds weren’t as plentiful as in previous years, spirits were still high. Everyone agreed that the snowy game in December 29th was one for the books — and (according to the NHL) showed Casey Middlestadt’s skill and ability to play in harsh weather conditions.
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