Even in hockey-mad parts of the world, I doubt there was much attention paid to the results at the 2013 IIHF World Men's U-18 World Championships in Estonia this week. The host Estonia, unfortunately, are 0-4 with a minus-17 goal differential and will likely not be promoted to the championship division next year.
The Hungarians, however, are doing quite well. Thanks to the goal-scoring of Daniel Szabo (5G, 3A) and play-making abilities of Ferenc Kocsis (1G, 9A), they're 4-0 and look good going into the weekend. I think they've clinched a promotion for next season, with just a remaining game against Romania.
Wait, why are we reading about a Division I, Group B U-18 hockey tournament? Because a video of a Lithuanian player throwing his stick (accidentally? on purpose? accidentally on purpose) at a referee went viral this week. The Lithuanians had just suffered a 3-2 defeat to the hands of Great Britain, a country with a rich hockey history. The British, of course, won the 1936 gold medal at the Olympic games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
So unable to complete the comeback against the colonial fathers of the two top U-18 programs in the world in Canada and the United States, naturally, Danielius Nomanovas was upset:
(via The Big Lead and others)
As you can see in the video above, the shot was most definitely felt by the referee, who went down to a knee so he could clutch his shoulder after Nomanovas’ stick drilled him in the upper body. The attack also elicited a rapid response from a British player, though he was kept from getting to Nomanovas by another ref.
There has been no official word yet about what will happen to Nomanovas, either within the Lithuanian federation or the larger hockey community. He may still be a minor, but there would be no surprise if this incident essentially ended his international career, if not his career in whole. [Prep Rally]
The Lithuanians fired 40 shots on British goaltender Adam Goss, including 13 in the third period, but Goss shut the door in the 3-2 win.
Here's the real funny thing about this incident. While the video linked above has been viewed more than 55,000 times on Youtube, and that number is surely to climb, only 588 people total have taken in Lithuanian games at the tiny Premia Ice Arena in Tallinn.
It is surely the most memorable moment to come out of a first division U-18 game in serveral seasons, and few got to see it live. Shame.