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Notebook (April 28) - Team USA Captures Gold at U18 Worlds

04/28/2014, 7:15pm EDT
By USA Hockey

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.

U18 World Championship Notes

  • Team USA has captured 12 medals at the U18 World Championship, the most of any country. The U18s have eight gold medals (2002, 2005-06, 2009-12, 2014), three silvers (2004, 2007, 2013) and one bronze (2008).
  • Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill.), Jack Eichel and Alex Nedeljkovic were named the three best players of the tournament for Team USA.
  • Jack Eichel (5-5) and Sonny Milano (3-7) paced the team with 10 points each. They also tied for third among the tournament scoring leaders. Auston Matthews (5-2) and Kyle Connor (Shelby Township, Mich./4-3) tied for third on the squad with seven points each. Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass./1-4) rounded out the top-five U.S. scorers with five points. Hanifin’s five points tied for second among defensemen in the tournament.
  • In net, Alex Nedeljkovic finished with a 5-1 record along with a 1.84 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage. Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) was 1-0 with a 0.00 GAA and a perfect save percentage.
  • Jared Fiegl (Parker, Colo.) placed second in the tournament in face-off percentage at 72.1. Dylan Larkin finished fourth at 64.1 percent.
  • Team USA led the tournament in penalty killing at 92.0 percent. Opponents converted on just two of their 25 chances.
  • No single opponent outshot Team USA in the tournament. The U.S. held a 291-121 overall shot advantage.


  • April 27, 2014, marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of former U.S. National Under-18 Team assistant coach / advisor Tim Taylor, who served in that role from 2007-13. Taylor was part of the staff for the U18 Teams that captured gold at the U18 World Championship (2009-12) and one that earned a bronze medal (2008).
  • Team USA’s roster featured 15 players listed on the National Hockey League Central Scouting’s final ranking of draft-eligible players for 2014. Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y./12th), Sonny Milano (16th) and Dylan Larkin (17th) are among the top 20 forwards. Goaltenders Alex Nedelijkovic and Edwin Minney were ranked fourth and seventh, respectively.
    Jack Eichel is eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft while Auston Matthews, the youngest player on Team USA, is not eligible until 2016.
  • Forward J.T. Miller (East Palestine, Ohio/2009-11) made his NHL playoff debut for the New York Rangers on Sunday. Miller finished with an assist, a plus-2 rating and one shot on goal in 10:22 of ice time in the Rangers’ 4-2 win over Philadelphia.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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