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USA Blanks Czech Republic in Second Game at U18 Worlds

By USA Hockey, 04/19/14, 10:15AM EDT


Photos by Richard Wolowicz (HHOF-IIHF Images).

LAPPEENRANTA, Finland - Alex Nedeljkovic (Parma, Ohio) turned aside all 24 shots he faced as the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team blanked the Czech Republic, 3-0, here today at Lappeenranta Arena. With the win, Team USA's record improves to 1-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's Under-18 World Championship.

Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) put Team USA on the board at 8:17 of the first frame. Skating four-on-four, Matthews fired a shot that deflected off a defender's stick and over Czech goalie Vitek Vanecek. Brandon Fortunato (North Hills, N.Y.) and Jack Dougherty (Cottage Grove, Minn.) collected assists on the play. Nedeljkovic was tested early, but stopped all 10 shots he saw in the period.

The U.S. lead doubled 58 seconds into the second stanza when Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.) pounced on a rebound to the right of the crease. Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) created the opportunity, skating around the net and firing a shot that caromed to Milano's stick. Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) was credited with a secondary assist. Kyle Connor (Shelby Township, Mich.) extended the U.S. lead to three goals with a wrist shot from the high slot. Joe Wegwerth (Brewster, N.Y.) and Jack Glover (Golden Valley, Minn.) assisted.

Nedeljkovic made five of his 24 total saves in the final frame to preserve the shutout victory. Vanecek blocked 32 shots in the loss for the Czech Republic.

The U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team is right back in action tomorrow (April 20) versus Denmark. The game is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. EDT at Lappeenranta Arena. All U.S. tournament games will be streamed live on FASTHockey free of charge.


  • Team USA outshot the Czech Republic, 35-24.
  • Alex Nedeljkovic was named Team USA's best player, while Vitek Vanecek was named best player for the Czech Republic.
  • Kyle Connor has now scored in each of Team USA's first two games of the U18 World Championship. The forward also scored one goal in the pre-tournament game against Germany last week.
  • Announced attendance for the game today at Lappeenranta Arena was 2,523.
  • The next opponent for the U.S. is Denmark, who is idle today. Denmark carries a 0-0-0-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record into the game, having been outscored 15-3 in those contests.
  • The U.S. enters the tournament having captured a record 10-consecutive medals, including back-to-back golds in 2005-06 and four-straight gold medals from 2009-12; three silver medals (2004, 2007, 2013); and one bronze medal (2008).
  • Team USA's seven gold medals are the most of any country in IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship history. The event began in 1999. Team USA earned its first gold medal in 2002.
  • The U.S. will play in Group B alongside the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland. Group A consists of Canada, Germany, Russia, Slovakia and Sweden.
  • Follow @USAHockeyScores on Twitter for live scoring updates during the tournament. Scores will be designated with the #U18Worlds tag.
  • For additional coverage, visit the NTDP Facebook page and follow @USANTDP on Twitter.

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