Junior hockey: U.S. outshoots Sweden 51-15 but loses in world U18 final, OHL draft recap

The Detroit News
Team USA's Cole Spicer, right, celebrates a goal during Sunday's 6-4 loss against Sweden in the gold-medal final of the world U18 championships in Germany.

The United States outshot Sweden 51-15 but lost 6-4 in the final of the world U18 hockey championship on Sunday in Landshut, Germany.

Sweden goalie Hugo Havelid stopped 47 shots, including 20 in the third period.

“It was a tough game for me physically,” Havelid told iihf.com. “The USA put a lot of pressure on me, but it’s the last game of the season and there was a gold medal on the line, so I just had to hold out and play for my life.”

Rutger McGroarty scored twice for Team USA, which earned a silver medal and its 18th medal in tournament history, more than any other country.

“At the start, we were just trying to force their D to turn over the puck and get enough pucks on their goalie,” McGroarty told iihf.com. “Their goalie was awesome. He’s a stud. I felt we had the legs today, we had the energy, but the outcome sucks.”

Frank Nazar (Mount Clemens) and Ryan Leonard scored the other U.S. goals and Trey Augustine (South Lyon) stopped 9-of-14 shots.

American defenseman Lane Hutson and center Logan Cooley were named to the media all-star team. In six games, Hutson had eight assists and was plus-12 and Cooley had three goals, seven assists and was plus-5.

Sweden's Jonathan Lekkerimaki and Havelid also made the all-star team. Lekkerimaki, the top-ranked Swedish forward for the 2022 NHL draft, led tournament scoring with five goals, 10 assists and was plus-4. Havelid had a 2.41 goals-against average with a .924 save percentage in five games.

Team USA's Jimmy Snuggerud celebrates one of his two goals in Saturday's 6-1 win over the Czechs in the semifinals of the world U18 hockey championships in Germany on Saturday.

Little Caesars tops Mich. teams 

Little Caesars had the most local players selected in this weekend's Ontario Hockey League draft, which featured the fewest amount of Michigan players taken in 10 years.

Seven of the 12 Michigan players were from the Little Caesars' U15 state championship team, including goaltender J.J. Salajko whose father Jeff Salajko was let go as the goaltending coach of the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday along with head coach Jeff Blashill and assistant coach Doug Houda.

J.J. Salajko, a 6-foot, 170-pound native of Worthington, Ohio, had a 1.38 goals against average with a .916 save percentage with Little Caesars this year. 

Jeff Salajko was in his third season as the Red Wings' goalie coach after spending three seasons as the goaltending development coach for the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins. A native of Kitchener, Ontario, he was a 10th-round pick (236th overall) of the San Jose Sharks in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft and enjoyed an eight-season professional playing career, seeing action with 11 different teams in four leagues.

Here's the 12 local players who were selected in the two-day OHL draft:

Little Caesars (7)

►5th round, Darian Anderson, RW, Flint Generals

►8th round, Austin Baker, LW, Owen Sound Attack

►8th round, J.J. Salajko, G, Kingston Frontenacs

►9th round, John McNelis, LW, Ottawa 67's

►11th round, Liam Storch, C, Saginaw Spirit

►13th round, Evan Sofikitis, D, Windsor Spitfires

►15th round, Lucas VavVliet, LW, Sarnia Sting

Honeybaked (2)

►7th round, Dakoda Rheaume-Mullen, G, Sarnia Sting

►9th round, Daniel Berehowsky, C, Hamilton Bulldogs

Compuware (2)

►11th round, Lukas Fischer, D, Sarnia Sting

►12th round, Cole Bartnick, Erie Otters

Belle Tire (1)

►9th round, Payton Stowe, C, Erie Otters

The 12 players tied the fewest Michigan players taken since 2012. The most players selected were 36 in 2020, when Honeybaked's Max Namestnikov, the brother of former Red Wing Vlad Namestnikov, was taken third overall by the Sarnia Sting.

Namestnikov had 40 points in 68 games during the regular season and two points in six games in the playoffs. The Sting were eliminated by the Windsor Spitfires on Sunday with a 3-1 loss in Game 6 after Sarnia won 3-2 in overtime on Saturday.

Michigan players drafted in the OHL

►2022: 12

►2021: 15

►2020: 36

►2019: 32

►2018: 21

►2017: 17

►2016: 22

►2015: 22

►2014: 16

►2013: 20

►2012: 12

►2011: 19

►2010: 23