(Photo Credit: Matt Zambonin/IIHF)

By: Tom Calautti | Follow me on Twitter @TCalauttis and Linktree

The lead story going into the IIHF World Junior Championship may have been the addition of Matt Poitras for Team Canada, but it was another Bruins prospect that stole the spotlight. Although his country was eliminated by the US yesterday morning, Dans Locmelis put his stamp on the tournament.

Locmelis was in the midst of his freshman season at the University of Massachusetts Amherst when his home country of Latvia came calling for his participation in the World Juniors. The center from Jelgava was named captain of the 2023-24 Latvian squad before the tournament and went on to lead them in more ways than one.

Locmelis, Boston’s 2022 4th-round draft selection, led all Latvian skaters with five points throughout five games. Latvia was held off the scoresheet through their first three games and faced an early elimination when they entered a December 30th contest against Germany. With their tournament lives on the line, Locmelis logged three assists and helped lead his countrymen to a win and a spot in the quarterfinals against Team USA.

Latvia was dispatched by the US 7-2, but both of the country’s goals came off the stick of Locmelis. Locmelis’ five points were a testament to his offensive ability, especially when you consider Latvia only scored eight goals in the whole tournament. That means that the Bruins prospect factored into 63% of his country’s total offense.

As Locmelis returns stateside, he rejoins a UMass team that is currently ranked 11th in the country. He had three points over his last three games before the NCAA went on its annual winter break. Fans can see Locmelis in action again on January 5th when the Minutemen take on Hockey East rival UConn at the Mullins Center in Amherst, MA.