U-17 Championships Day 4 Recap

André Burakowsky, Rasmus Fyrpihl and Leon Bristedt all scored before the game was six minutes old as Sweden picked up its second win in as many days at the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, beating Germany 5-2 on Sunday afternoon.

After dropping their opener to Ontario on Friday the Swedes have rattled off back-to-back wins, and can clinch a semifinal berth with a win over Atlantic in their preliminary round finale on Monday in Windsor.

Burakowsky finished with two goals and Tobias Liljendahl also scored for Sweden, which scored four goals in the first period for the second day in a row – it led 4-1 after 20 minutes in its 7-3 victory over Quebec on Saturday. Victor Öhman, who scored a hat trick in the win over Quebec, turned playmaker against the Germans, picking up two assists.

Erik Gollenbeck and Frederik Tiffels scored goals for the Germans, who finished the preliminary round at 0-4 and will play in Tuesday’s ninth-place game in LaSalle against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.

Ohman and Burakowsky were sensational, and Bristedt was amazed with both of their games, even after playing with them throughout the tournament.

“Ohman is a great center, good vision, a good passer. Burakowsky is a technique god. He’s so good with his technique. We complement each other good and we’re a good mix together. I think we will keep going with this line and score more goals,” said Bristedt, who noted that the line’s small size made no difference to the way they play, “When you’re smaller like I am you have to be good at something. Speed is one of my best traits. I work very hard at the gym to get my speed. Being small is not a problem; look at today, our line can score goals.”

German forward Leon Draisaitl did not think the Germans were prepared in the first period.

“We were badly outplayed. It’s hard to come back in the game after three or four quick goals. Against this Swedish team, it’s so hard to come back in the game. Our start was the key to why we lost that game.”

Sweden was not happy with sitting back and letting the Germans regroup, though, and were pushed to pick up their game after the period.

“Our coaches are on us really tough, we have to stay focused, Germany has some good players so we know that if we relax they can come right back, so we have to stay focused.”

Germany in fact did come back in the third and make it 4-2 on Tiffel’s powerplay goal, but Burakowsky scored his second only 56 seconds later to regain their three goal cushion.

“That was a really important goal mentally,” said Bristedt, “When we get that goal we have the game in our hands.”

The loss was not German goaltender Hannibal Weitzmann’s fault however. After giving up four goals in the first, he was solid the rest of the way and kept Germany in the game. Draisaitl was amazed with the way Weitzmann handled himself after getting shelled in the opening few minutes.

“He’s (Weitzmann) unbelievable, he’s so quick and I think the Swedes could have scored a lot more goals if we don’t have him in goal. We have to thank him for his performance.”

Germany will play in the 9th place game, and Draisaitl is looking forward to it.

“It’s our last game, it would be a good ending with a win and we need to play our best hockey,” he said, adding that playing in the tournament is a great opportunity.

“Every player is grateful. This is the biggest tournament for our age. It’s unbelievable, it’s very, very good.”

Sweden will look forward to their tilt against Atlantic, led by projected 2013 first overall NHL pick Nathan MacKinnon. However, Bristedt said that they won’t let MacKinnon’s hype bother them.

“We haven’t spoke about him (MacKinnon) at all. We’re just going to go out there and play our game, maybe get some scouting reports on him tomorrow after practice, but we have to play our game and see what the coaches do.”

An Ottawa Senators scout said that MacKinnon is the real deal. He was also impressed with Draisaitil and Bristedt, along with Sweden’s Anton Cederholm, goalie Ebbe Sionas, Jacob De La Rose, Burakowsky, and Robert Hagg.

USA and Team West played the late game in Tecumseh, and the States took it to the Canadians by a final score of 7-3.

USA came out strong and pushed for the first goal early. West took an early penalty and Connor Chatham tipped in Keaton Thompson’s point shot for a powerplay goal only 2:10 into the game. Remi Laurencelle potted a powerplay goal of his own off of a great feed from Alex Forsberg to tie the game at one. With under five minutes to go in the first period, J.T Compher scored on a miscue by West’s goalie Austin Lotz to take a 2-1 lead. Compher earlier put the puck in the net, but Lotz was interfered with and the goal was called off.

USA had a commanding lead in shots, 17-7.

In the second, Anthony Louis scored on the powerplay for a 3-1 lead. Only eight seconds later, Kayle Doetzel scored from center ice on a bouncing puck that eluded USA goalie Hunter Miska and cut the lead to one. 43 seconds after Doetzel’s goal, Luke Voltin scored to open up a two goal cushion for the States.

Cory Millette added a third goal for West in the third, but Hunter Fasching scored and Anthony Louis completed a hat trick to give USA the win, 7-3.

Fasching said that it was a much needed win.

“It was a great way to rebound from our last game against Russia, we weren’t proud of our performance there,” he said postgame, “We wanted to come back strong against these guys, so we got a goal right away which was really helpful. In the third period we put them away.”

Like Facshing, Louis was adamant about the game being very important for the USA squad.

“We needed this win for a shot at the medal round,” he agreed, “We played strong to get the win.”

Fasching and Louis, along with Compher, might be one of the best lines in the league, rivaling the production of Sweden’s top trio of Victor Ohman, Leon Bristedt and Andre Burokowsky.

“We work really hard on the powerplay because it’s a new system,” said Fasching, “We’ve had great chemistry all year, especially me and my linemates. J.T was just added to our line and he’s playing awesome. Louis was unreal tonight. He’s got the best hands I’ve ever seen. You watch him in practice and you see on the ice how hard he works on his hands and he just goes out there and plays his game. He’s fast and he’s got better hands than anyone I know so that’s why he scores so many goals.”

Louis was just as nice to Fasching and Compher, saying that, “They make plays and set me up all the time. If it wasn’t for Hudson standing in front of the net I’m not scoring those goals, he does it the best on our team. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have had three goals tonight.”

Other scores from the tournament during day four:

Russia 3 Czech Republic 2

Ontario 3 Atlantic 0

Be sure to follow Kyle Busch and Brian Raiger on Twitter @KyleBusch11 and @raiger 89 for up to the minute U-17 news.

Kyle Busch