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2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 1-5-18

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Bronze Medal Game
Czech Republic 3 vs USA 9

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 0-1-1, -5, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, *CZE Player of the Game*
Tournament Totals: 7 GP, 1-7-8, E, 6 PIM, 14 SOG

Hajek notched an assist on the Czech Republic’s first goal of the game, a power play marker by Martin Kaut just 43 seconds into the 3rd period. Unfortunately, by the time the Czech’s scored, the USA already had a 7-0 lead. Despite a -5 rating for the game, Hajek was named the Player of the Game for the Czech team, his second such honor of the tournament along with being named one of the Czech team’s Three Players of the Tournament. Hajek, along with Canada’s Cale Makar (COL, 2017 1st round pick) led all defensemen in the tourney in points, and he led the Czech team in ice time, after being left off last year’s WJC squad for CZE.

Wisconsin Badger Trent Fredric (BOS, 2016 1st round pick) paced the USA team on their way to Bronze with four goals, including the trifecta of shorthanded, power play, and even strength goals. Once again, the Czechs played a tight 1st period, but allowed critical let downs to balloon. The Czechs allowed the shortie from Fredric with 4 seconds remaining in the 1st to go into intermission down 1-0, and then allowed a Ryan Poehling (MTL, 2017 1st round pick) tally just 9 seconds into the 2nd period followed by a Joey Anderson goal 4 minutes later. After a goalie change, the Czech team allowed Fredric’s 2nd goal of the game 90 seconds later, and then Hajek got called for a penalty shot on a hooking call, with Kieffer Bellows (NYI, 2016 1st round pick) converting for his first of two goals in the game. Two more goals by Fredric and Bellows before the end of the period and the USA caps off a 6-goal middle frame. The Czechs got 3 goals in the 3rd by Kaut, Radovan Pavlik (undrafted), and Daniel Kurovsky (undrafted), but by then the game was well out of reach.

Gold Medal Game
Sweden 1 @ Canada 3

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 7 GP, 2-3-5, +5, 4 PIM, 16 SOG

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 7 GP, 3-3-6, +5, 4 PIM, 12 SOG

F Brett Howden , CAN: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 7 GP, 3-4-7, +9, 4 PIM, 15 SOG

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 7 GP, 0-3-3, +5, 0 PIM, 2 SOG

Carter Hart (PHI, 2016 2nd round pick) made 35 saves, backstopping Canada to Gold in a 3-1 win over the Sweden. Canada got goals from Dillion Dube (CGY, 2016 2nd round pick) and Tyler Steenbergen (ARI, 2017 5th round pick), with Alex Formenton (OTT, 2017 2nd round pick) adding an empty netter at the end. The game was evenly matched with the difference being the heads-up sharp laser pass by Conor Timmins (COL, 2017 2nd round pick) to Steenbergen in the slot for his first and only goal in the tournament. Sweden’s lone goal came shorthanded in the 2nd to knot the game at 1-1 by Tim Soderlund (CHI, 2017 4th round pick).

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 1-4-18

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Canada 7 vs Czech Republic 2

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 6 GP, 2-3-5, +5, 4 PIM, 14 SOG

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 6 GP, 3-3-6, +5, 4 PIM, 10 SOG

F Brett Howden , CAN: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 5 GP, 3-4-7, +8, 4 PIM, 13 SOG

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 6 GP, 0-3-3, +5, 0 PIM, 1 SOG

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 6 GP, 1-6-7, +5, 6 PIM, 11 SOG

Katchouk scored and Raddysh and Howden added assists in the Canadians 7-2 rout of the Czech Republic. The win puts Canada into the Gold Medal game against Sweden Friday night. Meanwhile, Hajek consummated his coming out party after being named as one of the Czech’s Three Players of the Tournament. The Czechs will play USA for the Bronze Medal, also on Friday night. Filip Zadina (2018 draft eligible) scored both goals for the Czechs, including the game opener just 5:55 into the game, but was snubbed by the Czech coaches as one of the team’s three best after leading the tournament in goals scored. The Canadians were let by the hat trick of Drake Batherson (OTT, 2017 4th round pick). After scoring the opening goal, discipline plagued the Czechs once again, taking a slew of penalties and allowing three straight power play goals and then the 3-1 deficit blossomed into a 7-1 deep trench.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 1-2-18

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Czech Republic 4 vs Finland 3 (SO)

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament Totals: 5 GP, 1-6-7, +5, 6 PIM, 11 SOG

Hajek played 30:46, four minutes more than any other player in the game, and notched a power play assist in the Czech Republic’s come-from-behind shootout victory over the Finnish squad 4-3. The Czechs will play in the tourney’s semifinals on Thursday against Canada, who dominated the Swiss in quarterfinal play.

Josef Korenar (undrafted), the Czech netminder and former Lincoln Stars goalie, stopped 51 of 54 Finnish shots, backstopping the Czechs in their upset of Finland and their first appearance in the WJC semifinals since 2005. Hajek, playing on the top Czech power play unit, worked with Martin Necas (CAR, 2017 1st round pick) to feed Filip Zadina (2018 draft eligible) for the first of his two goals in the game. The Finns went ahead 2-1 in the 2nd with goals from Aapeli Rasanen (EDM, 2016 6th round pick) and Vancouver 2016 5th overall pick Olli Juolevi, the first on the power play with Hajek in the box for interference. Red Deer Rebel Kristian Reichel (undrafted), son of ex-NHL’er Robert Reichel, knotted the game 2-2 before the end of the 2nd period, but Kristian Vesalainen (WPG, 2017 1st round pick) put the Finns up 3-2 early in the 3rd period. With Korenar pulled for the extra skater, Halifax linemate of Otto Somppi and consensus Top 10 2018 pick Filip Zadina tied the game 3-3 with two-and-a-half minutes left in the game to send the game to OT and to the eventual shootout. Kolenar would stand strong for the Czechs in the skill competition, stopping 4 of 5 shots from Finland, while Reichel and Necar scored for the Czech Republic to seal the upset and a berth in the tournament semifinals.

Canada 8 vs Switzerland 2

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament Totals: 5 GP, 2-3-5, +4, 4 PIM, 13 SOG

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 5 GP, 2-3-5, +4, 2 PIM, 9 SOG

F Brett Howden , CAN: 1-3-4, +4, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament Totals: 5 GP, 3-3-6, +7, 4 PIM, 12 SOG

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 5 GP, 0-3-3, +5, 0 PIM, 1 SOG

Brett Howden (pictured) scored the opening goal and added three more assists as Canada put up its second snowman on the scoreboard in consecutive games in an 8-2 victory over Switzerland to advance to the semifinals against the Czech Republic on Thursday. The Canadians pelted the Swiss with 60 shots, while the defense allowed just 15 shots against. Canada was paced by two goals from Drake Batherson (OTT, 2017 4th round pick), four points from Howden, and a goal and three points from Maxime Comtois (ANA, 2017 2nd round pick). Both Katchouk and Raddysh netted power play assists, with Katchouk collecting an assist on Batherson’s power play marker in the 1st period, and Raddysh earning his helper on Dillon Dube’s (CGY, 2016 2nd round pick) power play goal midway through the 3rd period.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-31-17

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Switzerland 3 @ Czech Republic 6

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 0-2-2, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 4 GP, 1-4-5, +4, 4 PIM, 8 SOG

Hajek had a pair of assists, one on the power play, in the Czech Republic’s domination of the Swiss, scoring 6 and putting up 60 shots. Red Deer Rebel Kristian Reichel (undrafted), son of ex-NHL’er Robert Reichel, scored twice for the Czechs. Hajek fed Jakub Lauko (2018 draft eligible) for the opening goal just 2:38 into the match, and then followed it up by working with Martin Kaut (2018 draft eligible) on a power play marker by Martin Necas (CAR, 2017 1st round pick) to put the Czechs up 2-1. After the Swiss knotted the score at 3-3 with a power play goal of their own, the Czechs locked the nets and reeled off three straight goals from Kaut, Daniel Kurovsky (undrafted), and Reichel.

The Czech Republic awaits the results of the final preliminary game of Russia vs. Sweden to see who they draw in the quarterfinals on January 2nd. The Russians can finish 2nd in Group B with a regulation win over the Swedes. Otherwise, the Czechs will finish 2nd in Group B.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-30-17

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Czech Republic 6 vs Belarus 5

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 2 GP, 0-2-2, +1, 4 PIM, 3 SOG

Hajek had a goal and an assist in the Czech Republic’s comeback victory against a spirited Belarus squad, and then called out his team in the post-game media for selfish and individual play.

Belarus opened the scoring in the first with a power play goal, and then just after the midpoint of the period, Daniel Kurovsky (undrafted) was given a 5-minute major and a 20-minute game misconduct for slashing defenseman Vladislav Gabrus (undrafted) in the groin. And while the Belarusians couldn’t capitalize on the resulting 5-minute power play, they did strike for the 2-0 lead just 48 seconds into the 2nd period, precipitating a goalie change in the Czech nets. The goalie change had its intended effect on the Czech skaters with Radovan Pavlik (undrafted) tallying the first of his two goals just 43 seconds after the goalie switch, followed by Hajek’s equalizer on a wrister from the high slot just 24 seconds after Pavlik’s goal.

The Czechs would put up three more goals in the 2nd period to take a 5-2 lead, the first being a power play marker from Halifax winger and top 2018 draft prospect Filip Zadina, then Hajek assisting on a Filip Chytil (NYR, 2017 1st round pick) goal, and finally Pavlik’s 2nd marker that resulted in a Belarussian goalie change.

Like the Czechs, the change in goal spurred Belarus offensively with Yegor Sharangovich (undrafted) netting his 2nd goal of the game, a power play score with just 75 seconds left in the 2nd period to cut the Czech lead to 5-3 going into the final frame. But the Czechs weren’t done with the undisciplined play, as Pavlik earned a 10-minute misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct when he fired a shot into the Belarus net after the whistle for an icing call. Belarus cut the lead to 5-4 on the ensuing power play, but the Czech Republic reestablished the two goal lead with strike from Sherbrooke winger Marek Zachar (undrafted). Belarus tallied the false hope goal about 90 seconds later when defenseman Gabrus came back from the 1st period slash to the groin to score for Belarus, but they would get no closer.

The Czech Republic plays their final preliminary round match on New Year’s Eve against the Swiss team, looking to undergird their quarterfinal seed with a single loss to Sweden.

Denmark 0 vs Canada 8

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament Totals: 4 GP, 2-2-4, +4, 2 PIM, 10 SOG

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 3 GP, 2-2-4, +4, 2 PIM, 9 SOG

F Brett Howden , CAN: 2-0-2, +3, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, *Player of the Game*
Tournament Totals: 4 GP, 2-0-2, +3, 4 PIM, 9 SOG

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-3-3, +4, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 4 GP, 0-3-3, +5, 0 PIM, 1 SOG

Brett Howden (pictured) scored twice in Canada’s rout of the Danish WJC squad en route to Player of the Game honors for the Canadian team. Canada fired 44 shots at Denmark netminder Emil Gransoe (undrafted), putting up the snowman on the scoreboard. Cal Foote notched assists on both of Howden’s goals, giving Lightning fans a preview of a possible Tampa Bay future, along with a third assist on Drake Batherson’s (OTT, 2017 4th round pick) third period power play marker. Raddysh and Katchouk both assisted on the game’s opening goal by Robert Thomas (STL, 2017 1st round pick). Katchouk won a battle on the half wall and shoveled the puck behind the goal to Raddysh, who fed Thomas cutting to the Danish net. The stats lines for Raddysh and Katchouk are nearly identical in four games thus far, and the pair have had obvious chemistry since the beginning of the tournament, and no doubt Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds GM Kyle Raftis is paying attention amid continued rumors that the rebuilding Erie Otters is looking to move Raddysh by the OHL trade deadline.

Canada has completed preliminary play, winning Group A with a record of 3-0-1-0 and will most likely draw the Swiss squad in the quarterfinals on January 2nd.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-29-17

Canada 3 vs USA 4 (SO)

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 3 GP, 2-1-3, +3, 2 PIM, 7 SOG

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Tournament Totals: 3 GP, 2-1-3, +3, 2 PIM, 8 SOG

F Brett Howden , CAN: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 3 GP, 0-0-0, E, 4 PIM, 6 SOG

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 3 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG

Let’s be honest, it was a messy game, literally and metaphorically. But you have to hand it to the American, just hours after being upset by Slovakia, they fall behind 2-0 and 3-1 to the Canadians in terrible outdoor weather conditions, but manage a big rally to tie and eventually win in the shootout, throwing all kinds of chaos in the Group A standings.

Canada got out to a quick 2-0 lead with power play goals from Avalanche 2017 #4 overall pick Cale Makar and Dillon Dube (CGY, 2016 2nd round pick), taking the two-goal lead to the 1st intermission. The weather, however, took a turn for the worse in the 2nd period, with heavy snowfall grinding the game to a crawl, and it looked like it would be tough for USA to make a run. But with just under 5 minutes left in the period, Alex Formenton (OTT, 2017 2nd round pick) took a slashing penalty for Canada, and then Howden took an undisciplined cross-check in the ensuing scrum after the whistle. The Americans broke through and scored on the 5 on 3 power play with a goal by Kieffer Bellows (NYI, 2016 1st round pick).

But the Canadians would seem to bounce back a put the game away with a beautiful play by a couple of Bolt prospects. Raddysh picked off the puck in the neutral zone and lifted it over the USA defense like a tennis lob, springing Katchouk in alone on the USA netminder Jake Oettinger (DAL, 2017 1st round pick). Oettinger stopped Katchouk, but Jake Bean (CAR, 2016 1st round pick) kept the clearing attempt in the zone, and Katchouk redirected the shot from the point for a 3-1 lead by the Canadians late in the 2nd.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-28-17

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Sweden 3 vs Czech Republic 1

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 2 GP, 0-2-2, +1, 4 PIM, 3 SOG

Hajek led all Czech blueliners in ice time with 21:28, and assisted on the team’s only goal against the Swedes, a power-play tally by Otto Somppi’s linemate at Halifax, Filip Zadina (2018 draft eligible). The goal drew the Czechs within one, but the Swedes scored two power-play goals of their own. Hajek’s ice time was eclipsed only by Zadina and the Hurricanes 2017 12th overall pick Martin Necas. The Czech Republic next plays Belarus on Saturday.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-27-17

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Slovakia 0 vs Canada 6

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Tournament Totals: 2 GP, 2-1-3, +2, 2 PIM, 7 SOG

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 2 GP, 1-1-2, +2, 2 PIM, 4 SOG

F Brett Howden , CAN: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Tournament Totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 4 SOG

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG

Jonah Gadjovich (VAN, 2017 2nd round pick) scored twice for Canada and OHL points leader Jordan Kyrou (STL, 2016 2nd round pick) racked up a 3-point night, while Colton Point (DAL, 2016 5th round pick) pitched a 20-save shutout against the Slovakian WJC squad. Taylor Raddysh continued his strong early tourney showing, notching a power play marker, as the Canadian offense threw 52 shots at the Slovak goalie from St. Cloud State, David Hrenak (undrafted). Cal Foote saw his ice time blossom to almost 20 minutes amid a couple of injuries to Canada’s backline. Canada gets a day off on Thursday before the highly hyped first ever outdoor WJC game pitting Group A rivals USA vs Canada at New Era Field in what the weatherman predicts to be very cold and possibly snowy game time conditions.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-26-17

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Czech Republic 5 vs Russia 4

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 0-1-1, +1, 4 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 0-1-1, +1, 4 PIM, 2 SOG

A late rally by the Russian WJC squad fell short as the Czech Republic team held on for a 5-4 victory in the tournament opening match. Hajek started the game and played a whopping 9:24 in the first, leading all skaters by a wide margin. Hajek assisted on Ostap Safin’s (EDM, 2017 4th round pick) goal in the 1st to pull the Czechs ahead 2-1. Despite leading all blueliners in ice time along with Filip Kral (2018 draft eligible), Hajek’s ice time fell off as the game went along, getting just 5:32 in the 3rd. After the Czechs scored three straight, Russia scored twice in the last 2:12 of the game to pull within one, but couldn’t put the equalizer past Josef Korenar (undrafted), who stopped 34 of 38 Russian shots. The Czech Republic were paced by four skaters each with a goal and an assist, including Otto Somppi’s Halifax linemate Filip Zadina (2018 draft eligible), and by three assists from Martin Kaut (2018 draft eligible). The Czech Republic next plays Thursday against the Swedish squad, who easily won their opening match 6-1 against Belarus.

In somewhat of a surprise, Bolt prospect Alexey Lipanov was among the last to be cut from the Russian WJC team, and won’t be in the lineup for the Russians for this tournament.

Canada 4 vs Finland 2

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 1-1-2, +2, 2 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament Totals: 1-1-2, +2, 2 PIM, 3 SOG

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 1-1-2, +2, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 1-1-2, +2, 2 PIM, 2 SOG

F Brett Howden , CAN: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 0 SOG

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG

Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk led the Canadian WJC team to its tournament opening 4-2 victory over Finland. Both Raddysh and Katchouk each had a goal and an assist, and Carter Hart (PHI, 2016 2nd round pick) backstopped 29 saves on 31 Finnish shots. Katchouk opened the scoring just 5:34 into the match on a controversial goal when he streaked in alone on Finnish netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, with the puck trickling over the line as the net was coming unmoored after a collision between the two players. The goal was ruled good after a review by the officials. Less than 30 seconds later, with the Canadians on the power play, Raddysh took a feed in front of the net from Jordan Kyrou (2018 draft eligible) and spun to jam the puck past Luukkonen, but a pad save popped the puck to the stick of Sam Steel (ANA, 2016 1st round pick), who rifled it into the open net. Later in the 2nd period, Katchouk attempted to feed Raddysh off the rush, but the play was broken up but Raddysh was able to collect the loose puck and spun and ripped a wrist shot from the top of the circles past Luukkonen.

One might look at Cal Foote’s blank stat line and only 12:55 in ice time and think he had minimal impact, but he had most spectacular play of the game when he dove behind Hart to swipe the puck off the goal line with his hand to save a goal and keep the Canadian lead at 4-2. The Canadians play next on Wednesday in Slovakia’s opening tournament match.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-22-17

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Canada 8 vs Switzerland 1 (Pre-Tournament Exhibition)

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 0-0-0
Tournament Totals: ---

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 0-1-1
Tournament Totals: ---

F Brett Howden , CAN: 0-0-0
Tournament Totals: ---

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-0-0
Tournament Totals: ---

Canada completed its two-game WJC pre-tournament exhibition with an 8-1 victory over the Swiss squad at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, Ont. Dillon Dube (CGY, 2016 2nd round pick) and current WHL goal-scoring leader Tyler Steenbergen (ARI, 2017 5th round pick) paced the Canadians with each a pair of goals. Current OHL points leader Jordan Kyrou (STL, 2016 2nd round pick) scored and added a couple of assists, as Canada pelted the Swiss goalie tandem of Philip Wuthrich (undrafted) and Matteo Ritz (undrafted) with a staggering 61 shots. Canada’s stifling defense allowed a total of just 7 shots for the entire game. Katchouk was the lone Bolt prospect to hit the scoreboard, assisting on a Jake Bean (CAR, 2016 1st round pick) marker in the 2nd period. The Canadians got out to a 3-0 lead before Guillaume Maillard (undrafted) scored for the Swiss. Canada opens tournament play on Boxing Day against the Finnish team the 2018 WJC tournament site in Buffalo, NY.

Libor Hajek made the Czech Republic WJC team, and opens against the Russian squad as the first game on Boxing Day. Bolt prospect Alexey Lipanov is currently with the Russian team in Buffalo, expecting to announce their final roster on Dec 23rd. If Lipanov makes the final roster cut, that will make six total Bolt prospects across three different teams participating in the 2018 World Junior Championship.

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