(Photo by Jana Chytilova/HHOF-IIHF Images, usahockey.com)
After finishing with the top seed in their group, and advancing through the elimination rounds, Team USA won Gold at the 2014 IIHF Men’s Under-18 World Championship over the weekend. The United States clinched the championship with a victory over the Czech Republic, 5-2. This is the eighth gold medal Team USA has taken home since the tournament began in 1999. The win also clinches a record of 11 consecutive medals for the United States, who tend to dominate in World Championships (except, perhaps, at the Olympics). Louie Belpedio, Jack Eichel and Alex Nedeljkovic were named the best three players of the tournament for Team USA.
It didn’t take the Americans long to get into the gold medal hype, as Jack Dougherty scored just 33 seconds into the game. Auston Matthews extended the lead to 2-0 at 6:55, and less than two minutes later, Sonny Milano made it 3-0 for Team USA. The Americans would not escape the period without allowing one, however, as the Czech Republic scored a goal of their own with only 34 seconds remaining in the first.
Dylan Larkin reclaimed the three-goal lead 1:13 into the second period, making it 4-1 in favor of the United States. Matthews scored again at 6:57, extending the advantage to a commanding 5-1. On the power play, the Czechs would cut the deficit to 3 goals, making it 5-2 at 13:20 of the second period.
The United States was not outshot at any point during the entire tournament, and only allowed 3 shots on goalie Alex Nedeljkovic during the third period. After a scoreless third, the game remained 5-2 and Team USA celebrated their 5th gold medal in 6 years.