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Recap: 2018 World Junior A Challenge

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Vomacka’s Czech Republic came up short of a medal.

Hockey Canda

Each December, Canada hosts an under-20 Tournament called the World Junior A Challenge. This event is modeled after the World Junior Championships but is meant for Junior A level players that come from the Canadian Junior Hockey League (one level below the CHL so leagues such as the BCHL and the AJHL), the United States Hockey League, the NCAA ranks, and other junior programs. Tournament alumni include the likes of Kyle Turris, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Dante Fabbro.

This year’s tournament in Bonnyville, Alberta featured five teams representing the United States, Russia, the Czech Republic, Canada West, and Canada East. The United States won gold, Russia won silver, and Canada West won bronze.

Tournament participants in Bonnyville include Nashville Predators prospect Tomas Vomacka and several 2019 NHL Entry Draft-eligible players. Below I’ll recap Vomacka’s tournament and highlight some other players to keep tabs on.

Tomas Vomacka - G - University of Connecticut [NCAA]

NSH - 2017 - Round 5 - #154th overall

Vomacka started three of the Czech Republic’s six games this tournament, facing off against Russia once and Canada West twice. Vomacka lost one game against Russia and one against Canada West and played roughly half of a shootout win against Canada West.

Vomacka faced 94 shots, allowed 10 goals, and finished with a 4.32 goals-against average and an .894 save percentage.

Of the eight goalies who started three games or more in the tournament, the average save percentage was 0.926. With Vomacka’s shots-faced, a tournament-average goalie would have made roughly 87 saves, meaning Vomacka saved negative three goals above average (or three below average, if you will).

His numbers were not spectacular, and he allowed a couple markers that were rough, like the one below:

Or this one:

But Vomacka also came up with some impressive stops in his 139 minutes of action.

Above, Vomacka stretches across the crease to prevent what should be an easy tap-in for Alex Campbell of Canada West.

And here, Vomacka holds his glove steady to rob Harrison Blaisdell from going top-shelf.

Above are Vomacka’s two best saves of the tournament. He displays excellent puck tracking, good use of his edges and a well-positioned glove and blocker pad.

Overall, it was a solid tournament for Vomacka, who got a few starts in in a week after having an irregular playing schedule at UConn as Adam Huska’s backup.

There were several players expected to be taken in June at the NHL Entry Draft on display in Bonnyville, Alberta, including the following:

Vasili Podkolzin (Russia) - F - SKA-1946 St. Petersburg [MHL]: 6 GP / 3 G / 5 A / 8 PTS

  • 2019 Draft Projection: 1st Round

Alex Newhook (Canada) - F - Victoria Grizzlies [BCHL]: 6 GP / 0 G / 4 A / 4 PTS

  • 2019 Draft Projection: 1st Round

Yaroslav Likhachev (Russia) - F - Gatineau Olympiques [QMJHL]: 4 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 PTS

  • 2019 Draft Projection: 1st or 2nd Round

Robert Mastrosimone (USA) - F - Chicago Steel [USHL]: 6 GP / 2 G / 2 A / 4 PTS

  • 2019 Draft Projection: 2nd or 3rd Round

Bobby Brink (USA) - F - Sioux City Musketeers [USHL]: 6 GP / 2 G / 6 A / 8 PTS

  • 2019 Draft Projection: 2nd or 3rd Round

Thanks to Steven Ellis for most of the video coverage of Vomacka’s highlights. All statistics are courtesy of