• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
Thursday's spotlight was on the World Junior Championship semifinals. The first game saw Sweden dethrone defending champ Team USA 4-2 in impressive fashion. The second game was a laugher, as Canada routed the Czech Republic 7-2.
So it's Canada vs. Sweden for gold, and Team USA vs. the Czechs for bronze. The gold-medal game should be a classic, but you have to expect Canada to win. It's always fun to watch the Swedes, who are unbeaten so far, but it's hard to see them getting past a hungry Canadian team, which will essentially be playing a home game.
One player from the World Juniors makes Thursday's five-player list of top-performances. The rest are all from the major-junior ranks. Take a look below:
SAMUEL HOUDE -- Houde scored two goals and added an assist in Chicoutimi's 5-4 OT loss at Blainville-Boisbriand on Thursday, earning No. 2 star honors. All three points came in a busy second period. The Sagueneens center scored his first goal at 8:33, cutting the Armada lead to 3-1. He scored again on a power play at 12:01 to make it 3-2 before getting the primary assist on a goal at 15:08 to cut the lead to 4-3. Through 24 QMJHL games, Houde has seven goals and seven assists, but he is really coming on of late -- having been a three-star selection in two of the past four games with a total of seven points over the span. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JAKE INGHAM -- Mississauga's goaltender came into 2017-18 with great expectations, but his draft year has been a rocky ride. He has been surging in recent games, however. On Thursday, he stopped 31 shots in the Steelheads' 4-3 OT shootout win over Sault Ste. Marie and was named the game's No. 2 star. Ingham made 14 saves in the third period and stopped both shooters he faced in the shootout. The victory gave him back-to-back OHL wins for the first time since Nov. 10. Overall, he is 9-14-1 this season. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JORDAN KOOY -- Kooy might be the hottest draft-eligible goaltender in major-junior hockey at this moment. On Thursday, he was the No. 1 star of London's 5-3 win at Barrie, stopping a remarkable 40 shots. He was 13-for-13 on saves in the first period, 14-for-16 in the second, and 13-for-14 in the third. After riding the bench most of the season, Kooy has suddenly emerged as a No. 1 goalie for the Knights. He has three straight victories and has been a three-star selection in all three of those games. Prior to this run, he had won only one game in 2017-18. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
ALEC REGULA -- While goaltender Kooy was providing the defense for London, defenseman Regula was taking care of the offense. The Knights' blueliner delivered a goal and two assists in Thursday's 5-3 win at Barrie, earning No. 2 star honors. Regula got the primary assist on a goal at 8:00 of the second period for a 2-1 London lead. He later scored at 18:14 of the second to make it 3-2. Regula closed his night in the third with the lone assist on the game's final goal at 19:30 of the third. It was the first OHL three-point game for the Michigan native, who had gone eight games without a point before Thursday.
FILIP ZADINA -- In a weaker draft year, Zadina might be the consensus No. 1 overall pick. For now, he'll have to settle for consensus No. 3. Although his Czech squad was vanquished by Canada on Thursday, Zadina still managed to stand out by scoring the game's first and last goals. The IIHF people were impressed enough to name him the Czechs' Player of the Game. His first goal, at 5:55 of the opening period, gave the Czechs their only lead of the night. His second goal, at 10:11 of the third, closed the scoring. Although he has been known for power-play success, Zadina scored both goals at even strength. Entering the bronze medal game, Zadina is tied for the tournament goal-scoring lead with seven in six games. He has shown that he is likely the best pure sniper in the entire 2018 draft pool. (Note: 12th appearance on this list in 2017-18 -- leads all players)