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U.S. National Under-18 Team Wins, 6-2, Over Czech Republic

By USA Hockey, 02/08/15, 2:00PM EST


Auston Matthews' Three Goals Help U.S. Earn Second Place at Five Nations Tournament.

KRAVARE, Czech Republic - Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) scored three goals and added one assist, while Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.), Steven Ruggiero (Kings Park, N.Y.) and Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) tallied one goal each to help the U.S. National Under-18 Team defeat the Czech Republic, 6-2, here today. With the win, Team USA clinches second place at the 2015 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament with a 2-1-1-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record.

Team USA created several quality chances in the opening minutes of the contest, but the Czechs scored the lone goal of the first period on a rebound to the left of U.S. goaltender Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.).

The U.S. responded with a strong second stanza, scoring three times while outshooting the Czech Republic, 15-5. Matthews pulled Team USA back to even when he scored at 12:15 on a backhander. After Nicholas Boka (Plymouth, Mich.) shoveled the puck behind the net, Tkachuk picked it up, avoided a defender and found Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) in the right circle. Roslovic hit Matthews flying down the slot, and Matthews made a quick move, got the goaltender to shift and then slide the puck into the open net. Matthews scored again at 14:48 to give the United States its first lead of the game. A loose puck in the offensive zone was grabbed by Roslovic, who skated to the net and dropped a pass back to Matthews for an easy tap-in. Then, just 10 seconds later, Bracco took a feed from Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.), made a move around a sprawling Czech defender and placed a shot into the top corner to give the U.S. a 3-1 lead after two periods. Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) had the secondary assist on Bracco's goal.

The Czech Republic scored 36 seconds into the third frame on a power play to pull within 3-2, but Matthews answered at 7:29 to help the U.S. regain a two-goal lead. Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.) shot the puck wide of the net, but Matthews stopped it behind the goal and quickly tucked it in from the left side of the net. Ruggiero then made it 5-2 with a laser from the left point. Caleb Jones (Frisco, Texas) and Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.) assisted on the tally. Tkachuk closed the scoring when he redirected a Fitzgerald shot into the net from the slot. Matthews was credited with the second helper on the goal.

Opilka turned away 19 shots between the pipes for the United States.

The U.S. National Under-18 Team returns to United States Hockey League play Feb. 20-21 when it travels to Madison, Wisconsin, for a two-game series against the Madison Capitols.


Team USA outshot the Czech Republic, 36-21 ... The U.S. went 0-1 on the power play, while the Czechs were 1-for-4 ... Follow @USAHockeyScores for live scoring updates from the tournament. Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #U18FiveNations ... Don Granato, head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Team, is leading the squad in the Czech Republic, along with assistant coach Nick Fohr and intern assistant coach J.D. Forrest ... All 22 players on the roster are from USA Hockey's National Team Development Program ... For the complete Under-18 Team roster, click here ... The U.S. National Under-18 Team trains with The Hockey IntelliGym, a revolutionary software program that trains hockey sense. To learn more, visit

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