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Quarterfinal Recap: USA Downs Slovakia, Heads to Semis

By, 04/24/14, 6:30AM EDT


LAPPEENRANTA, Finland - Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) notched one goal and earned two assists, and Johnathan MacLeod (Dracut, Mass.) scored two power-play goals, as the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team downed Slovakia, 6-2, in quarterfinal action here this afternoon at Lappeenranta Arena. With the win, Team USA advances to the semifinals of the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's Under-18 World Championship.

The United States struck first just 54 seconds into the opening period. After Slovakia committed a turnover in front of its own net, Eichel found himself one-on-one with goaltender Matej Tomek. Eichel quickly deked around Tomek and stuffed the puck past him for the goal. MacLeod doubled the U.S. lead with a power-play marker at 3:28. MacLeod fired a hard shot that struck Tomek's leg pad, but snuck underneath the goaltender and into the cage. Eichel picked up an assist on the play. Team USA struck again with 2:52 remaining in the period when Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.) took a centering feed from Eichel and wristed it past Tomek. Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.) recorded the secondary assist. Team USA did not allow a shot on net in the period.

The U.S. continued its offensive attack four minutes into the second stanza off the stick of Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.). Jack Glover (Golden Valley, Minn.) fed Kyle Connor (Shelby Township, Mich.) with a pass that sent the forward streaking up the middle of the ice. Connor drew the goalie to one side of the net before hitting Matthews with a cross-ice pass for the chip-in goal.

Slovakia found the back of the net at 6:17 of the final frame before MacLeod responded 2:13 later with his second power-play marker of the day. Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) found MacLeod standing on the blue line for the one-timer score. Nolan Stevens (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) potted a power-play goal of his own at 12:37, teaming up with Ryan Collins (Bloomington, Minn.) to push the U.S. lead to 6-1. Slovakia answered with a five-on-three goal at 15:30, but would get no closer as Team USA secured a 6-2 victory and berth in the semifinal round.

The U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team will next face the winner of the Finland - Sweden matchup held at Lappeenranta Arena later this evening. Game times for each semifinal round contest are 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. EDT on Saturday (April 26), also to be held in Lappeenranta. Team USA's game will be broadcast live, for free, on


  • Team USA outshot Slovakia, 43-12. Slovakia tied the record for fewest shots in a period with zero. Belarus (2nd period, April 15, 2004 vs. Finland) and Slovakia (3rd period, April 17, 2007 vs. Finland) share that mark. Most recently, the U.S. also held Denmark without a shot in the second period on April 20, 2014.
  • Jack Eichel was named Team USA's best player, while Slovakia's best player was announced as Christian Jaros.
  • Sonny Milano has at least one point in all five tournament games, including two goals and five assists. Factoring in the pre-tournament game versus Germany, the forward has 10 points (4-6) in six games.
  • Kyle Connor holds a point streak of five games, netting one goal in each of Team USA's preliminary round games to go with an assist today versus Slovakia. The Youngstown Phantoms product also scored in the pre-tournament contest against Germany.
  • Jack Eichel is riding a four-game point streak after being held without a point in the first preliminary round game versus Switzerland. The forward has four goals and four assists over that span.
  • Auston Matthews is also enjoying a four-game point streak. The forward has netted one goal and collected two assists in games against the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland and Slovakia.
  • Noah Hanifin ranks tied for second in points among defensemen in the tournament. The blueliner has one goal and three assists in four games.
  • 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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