Toronto Elite Claim 12U WST Title

Apr 29, 2023 | World Hockey Hub

World Selects Trophy
Photo by Craig Peterson | World Hockey Hub

Eight clubs attempted to lay claim on championship trophy

The 2023 12U World Selects Trophy was held this week in Bolzano, Italy. Eight teams from seven different countries participated in the annual tournament. The players were not distracted from the stunning views and food of the host city, as the games were action–packed with great talent on display. In the end, Toronto Elite emerged victorious over Pro Hockey after getting hot once the playoff round kicked off on Saturday. Here’s how they got to the final contest, and who were the biggest performers. 

Toronto rebounds after opening loss

Despite scoring first in its introductory matchup of the tournament, Toronto was unable to keep the Czech Knights at bay for the rest of the contest. The Knights went on to score three unanswered goals. Despite a heroic performance in net by Ethan Rodrigues, where he made 32 saves on 35 shots, Toronto was unable to claw its way back. It was a difficult game for Elite to stay out of the penalty box as well, as they were whistled for six infractions. The Czechs were able to take advantage of two of those power plays. 

Following that loss, Toronto regrouped and posted wins against Finland, Slovakia, Sweden and Latvia to close out pool play. In total, they out-scored their opponents in that run 21-6. The squad displayed great depth as well, with 12 of its 14 skaters recording at least one point across the preliminary round. Finishing first among the team were Liam Kozlowski and Adrian Leung, who had identical stat lines of four goals and three assists. Numbers that were good enough to tie with five other players for fifth overall among all skaters. Goaltending also played a crucial role in Toronto’s pool play performance. While Rodrigues continued to get playing time, Jordan Strathlee emerged as a valuable asset to form a dynamic tandem. He would finish with a 1.00 goals-against average and .931 save percentage over the club’s first five games. The two also each recorded a shutout. 

Finishing with a 4-1-0 record, Toronto secured the No. 2-seed heading into the playoff round, which gave them a bye into the semifinals. Joining them with a straight ticket to round 2 was the No. 1-seeded Knights. No. 3-seed Slovakia guaranteed a matchup with Toronto with a victory over Latvia in the quarterfinals. The Czechs were positioned to battle No. 5-seed Pro Hockey in their quarterfinal clash. 

Hussein, Down lead club in playoff round

Caden Down finished pool play with two goals and five points, and didn’t miss a beat once the playoffs began. His goal in the first period against Slovakia ignited a three-goal opening frame for Toronto. In the second, Jordan Hussain emerged as a secondary scoring threat. With Toronto holding to a 4-2 lead, Hussain struck twice in just over a minute to open up a 6-2 lead in the second period. He added a third point with an assist on Cameron Steven’s late goal in regulation to wrap up a 7-2 win. Pro Hockey defeated Finland in the semifinals, which set up a tilt with the heavily-favored Knights. After the Czechs scored first, Finn Helminen responded quickly for Pro Hockey and tied the game at 1. 

Pro Hockey scored twice more early in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Showing their resolve, the Knights found their way back to evening the score with two goals from Petr Potač. Lachlan McGuire stunned the Czechs when he put home a shot with just over a minute left in regulation. A win that set up a championship game meeting with Toronto. 

Toronto’s defense come up big in championship 

The opening frame was a statement from Toronto, where they opened up a 4-1 lead by its end. Down scored twice, and Hussein notched another assist on a goal from Leung. Lachlan McGuire managed to get Pro Hockey on the board to make it a 2-1 game before Toronto redoubled the lead. Despite numerous attempts to cut into the deficit, Pro Hockey was unable to get back in the game. A big reason for that was the team’s ability to keep McGuire in check for the second period. As a result, they were crowned 2011-born champions with a 5-2 final. McGuire finished pool play second overall in scoring with four goals and nine points. He had six goals and seven points to his name heading into the championship game. Hussein and Down ended up tied for second in playoff scoring with Pro Hockey’s Brendan Rogers with four points each. 

Want more coverage of the 2023 World Selects Invitational series? WHH is the exclusive media provider of all 12 WSI events, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news!


Recent News

Follow Us

More Headlines

Opening ceremonies at the 2023 World Youth Championships in Prague.
‘11 forward leads tournament in points, goals heading into playoff round
Prospects GTA from the 2022 Ontario All-Star Showcase
More than 300 players from Ontario and USA set to participate in 20-team event
The 2023 World Youth Championships are set to take place in Prague.
Players from ‘09,’10,’11 birth years set to compete at annual tournament