For the 11th straight year, the U.S. National Under-18 Team has won a medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s Under-18 World Championship. Team USA beat the Czech Republic 5-2 in the gold-medal game Sunday at Lappeenranta Arena in Finland. It marks the fifth time in six years that Team USA has won gold.
In the gold-medal contest, Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) paced the offensive attack with two goals, while Jack Dougherty (Cottage Grove, Minn.), Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.) and Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) had single tallies. Alex Nedeljkovic (Parma, Ohio) kicked out 15 of 17 shots in net.
Team USA finished preliminary action with a 3-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record to clinch the top seed in Group B. The U18s beat the Czech Republic (3-0 on April 19), Denmark (7-0 on April 20) and Finland (4-3 on April 22). Its lone loss was the opening game to Switzerland (4-2 on April 17).
On Friday, the U18s posted a 6-2 win over Slovakia in the quarterfinals. Johnathan MacLeod (Dracut, Mass.) led the offense with a pair of power-play tallies. Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.), Matthews, Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.), and Nolan Stevens (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) also scored. Nedeljkovic had 10 stops.
The U18s advanced to the gold-medal game by posting a 4-1 victory over Sweden in the semifinals on Saturday. Matthews, Larkin, Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.), and Eichel scored the goals. Nedeljkovic kicked out 19 of 20 shots.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.