‘11 forward leads tournament in points, goals heading into playoff round
With pool play wrapping up today at the World Youth Championships in Prague, a clearer picture is beginning to emerge as to playoff matchups heading into the weekend. The top two teams from the ‘09,’10, and ‘11 divisions have already locked up spots. The remaining four teams in each birth year will face off in play-in games to determine the third and fourth seeds for playoff positioning. One player who led East Coast Prime to secure one of those top seeds was 2011-born forward Max Prudovsky. After pool play, Prudovsky leads all skaters across all birth years with 17 goals and 27 points in just five games. He has also scored at an incredible pace of 5.40 points per game. Here’s a look at who else has stood out thus far and which teams have the best chances to compete for the championship…
Dynamic offenses on display among ‘11s
A main reason why West Can Prime and East Coast Prime were able to finish as the top two teams in the 2011 division was scoring depth. Matching the incredible output by Prudovsky was West Can’s Brody Antignani (11G, 11A) and Beck Van Kemenade (6G, 15A). Carter Watson has been a dependable secondary source of offense behind Prudovsky, collecting 11 goals and 24 points. In the lone matchup between the two teams in the preliminary round, Antignani notched a hat trick and Van Kemenade added a goal as well. Prudvosky was held to two assists. West Can will attempt to keep their perfect 5-0-0 record alive in the playoffs, and don’t be surprised if it’s these two squads battling it out for the 2011 championship on Saturday.
The Ice Bears Selects will take on Midwest Prime and Top Speed will clash with Europe Hockey Selects in the play-in games later today to determine the fourth and fifth seeds.
Liam Pue propels West Can Prime in ‘10 group
There has been no better goal scorer among 2010 players at this year’s tournament than Liam Pue. Averaging close to three goals per game, Pue was only held off the scoresheet once in five pool play contests. He amassed 16 goals in those games. The next closest skater to that total is teammate Reid Nicol, who currently sits with nine. Across all divisions, Pue’s goal total is second only to Prudovsky. With a 4-1-0 record, West Can Prime will enter the playoff round in second behind East Coast Prime.
It comes as no surprise that East Coast has been helped by the dynamic play of forward Matthew Lynn. Lynn, who skated with the No. 1 Philadelphia Jr. Flyers this season, was a constant source of leadership and production for the team. He has carried that momentum into the WYC, tied for first in team points with Bobby Spang. The forward duo has each collected 12 points. Lynn’s best game came against West Can, where he put up three goals and two assists. The lone blemish on East Coast’s run was a 7-6 shootout loss to Midwest Prime. Following that, the team rebounded with a 7-0 shutout of Pro Selects Slovakia. Given the skill on each roster, it’s shaping up to be a rematch between East Coast and West Can for the ‘10 title.
Pro Selects Slovakia is set to take on STASA Hockey, while the North Wind Selects will attempt to defeat Midwest Prime in the play-in games later today.
Ozogany, Matousek getting it done for ‘09 Slovakia
Pro Selects Slovakia have been able to handle each team they have squared off with thus far. The offense that Oliver Ozogany and Elias Matousek have provided has been a spark to an undefeated run. Each forward has recorded 14 points and a combined credit on three game-winning goals. Armed with one of the more daunting attacks among the ‘09s, Slovakia has scored at least seven goals in four of its five pool play games.
Holding down second place, Midwest Prime, is the favored team to be able to contend with Slovakia for the championship. However, in their preliminary round meeting, Slovakia bested Midwest 7-2. Ozogany and Matousek each impressed in that game with three points each. In order for Midwest to have any chance in a rematch, team depth will need to be stronger. The trio of Dominic Slevin, Grady Anaka and Gianfranco D’Agata have supplied most of the points for Midwest. If anyone has a chance to slow down Slovakia, it’s them.
TSH Selects drops the puck against East Coast Prime to settle positioning in the first play-in game. Following that tilt, Top Speed will drop the puck with Crazy Hockey to see who moves on to the playoffs.
You can catch all the playoff action this weekend with live streams of the games HERE.
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