It was a familiar scene at the U18 World Championships on Sunday when team USA took to the ice for the gold medal battle, however their opponent was not their usual foe. Instead of the red and white Canada jersey’s skating opposite, the Americans had a date with the Czech Republic. Team USA soundly defeated the Czech with a 5-2 victory to claim their 5th gold medal at the tournament in the last 5 years.
Throughout the tournament it seemed like the rivals were on a crash course to meet for the championship once again, however team USA pulled out a big win in the semi finals against Sweden, while Canada fell just short. With their rivals out of the way, team USA put their eyes on the gold.
Team USA got on the board early with a goal from Jack Dougherty 33 seconds in. Following Dougherty goals came from Auston Matthew (2), Frank Milano and Dylan Larkin. From 33 seconds in the team USA never looked back nailing down the gold medal victory. They needed just 15 saves on the night from OHL goaltender Alexander Nedeljkovic.
Expected 2015 top 2 pick Jack Eichel had a huge tournament for team USA leading the team with 10 points alongside Sonny Milano.
Team USA have built themselves a solid junior program and their players have lots of chemistry, they’ve won 5 of the last 6 U18 tournaments and are starting to go big at the World Championships. The USA is starting to pump out some consistent and great hockey talent.