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Top draft prospect Hischier plays the hero for Switzerland

Pierre-Luc Dubois: Nico Hischier

Canada’s Pierre-Luc Dubois, right, vies for the puck with Switzerland’s Nico Hischier during the second period of an exhibition game ahead of the IIHF World Junior hockey championships, in Toronto on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)


If you don’t know it already, remember the name Nico Hischier. The 17-year-old forward played the hero today for Switzerland at the World Juniors, scoring the overtime winner on a breakaway in a 4-3 triumph over the Czech Republic. The dynamic center also picked up two assists during regulation.

Hischier is expected to be a top pick at the 2017 NHL draft. It’s possible he could even go first overall, though Nolan Patrick remains the favorite for that.

“What’s special about him is attention to detail, especially defensively,” said Hischier’s coach in Halifax, Andre Tourigny, per The Hockey News. “He takes so much pride in his defense. It’s unreal.”

Hischier’s pretty good offensively, too. He has 48 points (23G, 25A) in just 31 games for the QMJHL’s Mooseheads this season.

The Swiss are still underdogs relative to international hockey powers like Canada and the United States, but they have a real chance to make an impact at this year’s tourney.

“Last year, we went to the relegation games, but we had a good team,” Hischier told the Chronicle Herald. “This year, we have a good team, too, so if we do the little things right and grow as a team, we can make the quarter-finals. That’s our main goal. After that, everything is possible.”