Tournament Review: U18 Five Nations in Russia

Jokke Nevalainen

2019-02-11

 

The final U18 tournament before the U18 World Championship tournament was played over the last week in Sochi, Russia. The tournament included teams from Russia, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic and USA. All five teams played four games over a span of five days which probably explains why there were so many injuries during this time.

 

USA didn’t play on the first day and the Czechs didn’t play on the final day which meant those two teams played four games in four days which is insane. The other three teams at least had one day of rest during the tournament, with Russia obviously choosing the best option, having a day off right in the middle of the tournament. Maybe next time there should be a bit more rest available, or at least teams should be better prepared with larger rosters to allow rest for some of the players.

 

Russia ended up winning the tournament by winning three of their four games. USA, Sweden and Finland won two games, and the Czechs managed to win just one game. Let’s go through all the teams and the performances of some interesting players from them.

 

Russia

 

Vasili Podkolzin (2019) was the expected top player for Russia, and he didn’t disappoint. He was the team captain and played on their top line even though it was the second line on paper. Podkolzin had an empty-net goal in the first game against Sweden, and then he scored twice against the Czechs.

 

But in the third game against Finland, he was given a match penalty for head-butting after a dirty knee to his center, and then he had to miss the fourth game against USA because of suspension. So essentially, Podkolzin had three goals in two and a half games.

 

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Another interesting player on the Russian team was center Ilya Nikolayev (2019) who was on the receiving end of that dirty knee I mentioned above. He did return to the game in the third period and played the next game against USA but maybe wasn’t playing at full capacity in those situations. Nikolayev played a solid two-way game he’s known for and generated some offense.

 

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Winger Yegor Chi