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EP Rinkside’s 3 stars from the semi-finals of the 2024 U18 Hockey World Cup

ESPOO, Finland – Saturday’s semifinal of the 2024 U18 World Hockey Championships began with Team USA taking on an upstart Slovakian squad that shouldn’t have been here.

While the outcome would never be in doubt, plenty of potential storylines remained. The projected top selection in the 2025 draft and the tournament’s leading scorer, James Hagens, came into the game with 19 points in five games. He was just two away from tying Nikita Kucherov’s long-standing record for the most in a single event.

Hagens reiterated that he was not concerned about individual records and that taking home a gold medal was all that mattered. “We’re just trying to win a gold medal. It doesn’t matter what record you break; if you leave without a gold medal, it’s not memorable. I can’t have just one gu