With just one of the two powerhouse North American squads receiving a top-three medal while in Sweden this past week, it’s safe to say that the tournament did not play out the way that either country had hoped for prior to opening puck-drop on April 18th. Ranked No. 1 and 2 heading into play, the 2019 U-18 championship marked just the third time since 2001 that neither the Canadians nor Americans appeared in the final game.
The championship game saw the host Sweden beat the Russians 4-3 in overtime to claim their very first IIHF U-18 gold medal in program history. The bronze medal game featured Team USA beating up on Canada by a score of 5-2. The Americans had been the best team in the tournament by a long shot, but fell victim to a red-hot Russian squad in a shootout in the semifinal.
As a matter of fact, USA’s Cole Caufield tied Alexander Ovechkin’s single-tournament goal scoring record with 14 strikes, while teammate Jack Hughes put up 20 points in seven games, added to his 12 points from 2018 set a new tournament record of 32 points in two years, also passing Ovechkin’s record of 31 points, set back in 2003.
Winnipeg ICE captain Peyton Krebs led the way for Canada with six goals and 10 points in seven games, while Brandon Wheat Kings’ defenceman Braden Schneider had two goals and three points. The lone Manitoban on Team Canada, underage blueliner Daemon Hunt of Brandon, collected one assist and finished the tournament a +5.