Switzerland managed to stay in the top division at the 2018 IIHF U18 World Hockey Championship over the weekend, thanks in large part to Kootenay Ice forward Gilian Kohler.
After underachieving in the round robin stage of the tournament, which included a shocking 5-4 loss to newly-promoted Belarus, the Swiss team finally came to life in the relegation round by routing France 5-2 and then 6-0. Kohler led the way with a goal and an assist in game one and then had a hat-trick in game two.
Gilian Kohler notches a hat trick and adds an assist as @SwissIceHockey defeats France 6-0 to sweep its #U18Worlds relegation series. France goes down to Division IA. https://t.co/8j3J9GWOzH pic.twitter.com/ebehooLrzD
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) April 28, 2018
According to the game’s official IIHF recap of the series opener, teammate Kyen Sopa spoke of the performance by saying “Kohler is absolutely one of the best players in our team.” In the second game, Kohler scored goals in every period and then assisted Luca de Nisco’s 6-0 goal with 10 minutes left.
The 17-year-old Biel-Bienne native led the Swiss in goals at the tournament with five and tied Julian Mettler for points with seven. Kohler ended the WHL season on a hot streak scoring three power play goals and six points overall in his last six games. In total, Kohler had 19 points in 55 games throughout his rookie season.
While he is eligible for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Kohler went unranked by NHL Central Scouting. He was the Ice’s first pick in the 2017 CHL Import Draft, being selected third overall.