Photo by Hickling Images
After a week of group play, the 2018 World Junior Championship Quarterfinals matchups are set, with 30 of 31 USHL alumni advancing. USHL players and alumni have had a major impact on the tournament thus far offensively, as the leading scorers for Team USA, Team Finland and Team Slovakia all have played in the USHL. In addition, four defensemen are currently ranked in the top-20 for tournament scoring. Here is a complete breakdown of USHL player performances, including upcoming Quarterfinal matchups:
Casey Mittelstadt (Green Bay Gamblers) leads the World Junior Championship with nine points in four games. The Buffalo Sabres prospect has four goals and five assists through group play. Brady Tkachuk (Team USA) is tied with 10 other players in the tournament as the next highest scorer with six points. New York Islanders prospect Kieffer Bellows (Team USA/Sioux Falls Stampede) is also ranked in the top-20 in tournament scoring. Team USA head coach Bob Motzko (Dubuque Fighting Saints/Waterloo Black Hawks/ North Iowa Huskies) has given Toronto Maples Leafs prospect Joseph Woll (Team USA) the majority of starts, and the Boston College goaltender has rewarded his coach with a 2.34 GAA, including a shutout. Dallas Stars prospect Jake Oettinger (Team USA) made one appearance for Team USA, and Boston Bruins prospect Jeremy Swayman (Sioux Falls Stampede) has not seen action for the Americans yet. Scoring from the blue line has been another positive for the Americans as four players are ranked in the top-20 for defensemen scoring: Calgary Flames prospect Adam Fox (Team USA), Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Andrew Peeke (Green Bay Gamblers), along with 2018 NHL Draft-eligible defensemen Scott Perunovich (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) and Quinn Hughes (Team USA).
Team USA will face Team Russia in a Quarterfinals matchup on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 8:00 pm ET.
Samuel Bucek (Chicago Steel) leads Team Slovakia in scoring with six points in four games, and also leads his team in both goals (3) and three assists (3). He also scored the game-winning goal in Slovakia’s 3-2 upset win over Team USA. Bucek was recently featured by the IIHF here. Goaltender David Hrenak (Green Bay Gamblers) made one appearance for Slovakia against Team Canada, stopping 46 of 52 shots. Samuel Solensky (Youngstown Phantoms) picked up an assist for Team Slovakia.
Team Slovakia will face Team Sweden in a Quarterfinals matchup on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 6:00 pm ET.
Eeli Tolvanen (Sioux City Musketeers) leads his team in scoring with five points (1G, 4A) in four games. The Nashville Predators prospect finally scored his first goal of the tournament, after finished tied for second with 21 shots on goal in group play. Tolvanen’s four assists are also tops for Team Finland. Aapeli Rasanen (Sioux City Musketeers) leads Team Finland with three goals, including one game-winner.
Team Finland will face Team Czech Republic in a Quarterfinals matchup on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 12:00 pm ET.
Top 2018 NHL Draft prospect Andrei Svechnikov (Muskegon Lumberjacks) is tied for second in team scoring, with five points in four games. Svechnikov’s five assists is currently tied for second in tournament scoring. Goaltender Mikhail Berdin (Sioux Falls Stampede) has yet to make an appearance for Team Russia.
Team Russia will face Team USA in a Quarterfinals matchup on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 8:00 pm ET.
Goaltender Filip Larsson (Tri-City Storm) is the lone USHL representative on the undefeated Team Sweden. The Detroit Red Wings prospect made one start in net, stopping 20 of 22 shots.
Team Sweden will face Team Slovakia in a Quarterfinals matchup on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 6:00 pm ET.
Goaltender Josef Korenar (Lincoln Stars) has split time for Team Czech Republic, as they battled into a quarterfinal spot. Although both goaltenders have struggled, the San Jose Sharks prospect has the edge stopping 55 of 61 shots over 117 minutes.
Team Czech Republic will face Team Finland in a Quarterfinals matchup on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 12:00 pm ET.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 16th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2017-18. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in five consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.