In the first two games of the 2022 U18 Women’s World Championship, Team USA striker Laila Edwards looked absolutely dominant.
Edwards, who will attend the University of Wisconsin, already has two power play goals, a tying goal and two assists to his name. In other words, she has points on just under half of the USA team’s total attack (11 goals), which was instrumental in the team’s strong start ahead of the showdown. eagerly awaited tonight with the Canadian team.
In hockey, there are players who enchant you when they have the puck on their stick. They look so confident, so skilful and so capable as they glide around and through defenders. These are the players that defenders struggle to contain – the players who improve everyone around them because they create space with their gifts. As you can imagine, they are rare. They are even rarer at U18 level. Yet, it is already evident that Edwards is such a player.
Originally from Ohio, Edwards stands out with his 6’2 build and his poise on the puck. She is both grace and power, able to protect the puck with her reach and legs to attack the net and make the kind of deft passes that mesmerize onlookers. In two games, she has recorded 8 shots on goal, but she is an unselfish player who plays for quality scoring chances.
Laila Edwards. So skilled that her 6’2 frame is an afterthought when you watch her handle the puck.
—Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) June 7, 2022
By Mikael Nahabedian Transition Stats Tracking of the tournament, Edwards’ underlying numbers further indicate just how outstanding she is. So far, 70% of entry attempts have been checked and only two have failed. On the other side of the ice, she was denied three registrations by the opposition.
Across 2 games, Team USA was the most impressive team in Group A.
With more than 66% control over the outs and 64% over the ins, they find ways to improve the puck’s condition in every sequence. Also, Sydney Morrow – remember that name – she will be very good for a very long time. pic.twitter.com/kjjizUCwJf
– Mikael Nahabedian (@hunterofstats) June 8, 2022
Alyssa Longmuir follows the match score in the tournament and has Edwards with a GS of 3.06 against Sweden and a GS of 2.30 against a Finnish team that beat Canada in the group stage. Both performances were good for Team USA’s second-best in those games.
So what do these numbers tell us? It’s not just the fact that she’s taller and probably stronger than the vast majority of the field, it’s about the decisions she makes with and without the puck and her ability to read the game. envision a future superstar center.
Are we studying a sample of two games? Yes. Is it still very early in this tournament? Of course it is. But the U18 Worlds are known for being fast and furious. It’s not easy to stand out and it’s not easy to have the kind of impact Edwards has had so far. On some shifts, it looks like she’s playing against girls who just aren’t ready to play against someone at her level. To do that at this stage of his first U18 tournament is absolutely remarkable. It’s also music to the ears of Wisconsin and USA Hockey.
The future is here and her name is Laila Edwards.
Data Courtesy IIHF.comMikaël Nahabedian and Alyssa Longmuir.