SPISSKA NOVA VES, Slovakia – Max Gildon (Plano, Texas) scored three times and Dylan St. Cyr (Northville, Mich.) made 24 saves to help the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team defeat the Czech Republic, 5-2, here today in its third preliminary round game of the 2017 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship.
With the win, the U.S. sits atop the Group B standings with nine points and has clinched a spot in Thursday’s (April 20) quarterfinals. Tomorrow’s final preliminary round matchup with Sweden will determine the top seed from Group B. That game is slated for 3:30 p.m. local (9:30 a.m. ET) and will be shown live on NHL Network.
“We didn’t play a lot of 5-on-5 tonight with all the penalties and we have to continue to work on a few fine details but we will address those tonight,” said U.S. Head Coach John Wroblewski (Neenah, Wis.). “Overall, I thought Dylan [St. Cyr] played great for us and he continues to be our rock.”
The Czech Republic took the lead just 1:51 into the opening period, but that U.S. tied the game at 12:24 on a shorthanded tally by Brady Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.). After a long stretch pass from Phil Kemp (Greenwich, Conn.), Tkachuk slid the puck between the legs of Czech Republic netminder Jakub Skarek after deking to his backhand.
Team USA took the lead 1:22 later on a rush play that ended with Gildon wristing a shot to the top left corner of the net. Grant Mismash (Edina, Minn.) picked up an assist on the play.
St. Cyr and the U.S. killed a late Czech Republic power play to preserve the 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
Jacob Tortora (Victor, N.Y.) extended the U.S. lead to 3-1 at the 3:43 mark of the second stanza when he received a pass from David Farrance (Victor, N.Y.), skated behind the defense for a breakaway, and fired a wrist shot past Skarek’s outstretched blocker.
St. Cyr kept the game at 3-1 when he stopped a Czech penalty shot at with 9:39 left in the middle frame.
Gildon scored his second goal of the afternoon during a 4-on-4 odd-man rush 8:38 remaining in the period. Logan Cockerill (Brighton Mich.) saucered a pass to Gildon, who fired the puck into the open net. The goal prompted a goaltending change by the Czech Republic. Tortora also earned an assist on the play.
The Czech Republic responded :28 later with a goal of its own during a net-front scramble to cut Team USA’s lead to 4-2 entering the final period.
Gildon completed his hat trick with two minutes left in regulation with a wrist shot from the point on the power play. Quinn Hughes (Orlando, Fla.) and Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass.) earned assists on the play.
St. Cyr finished with 24 saves on 26 shots to earn his third victory of the tournament.
|April 7||Exhibition vs. Belarus||W, 5-2||Hodonin, Czech Republic|
|April 10||Exhibition vs. Finland||W, 5-2||ZS Spisska Nova Ves|
|April 13||Belarus||W, 7-0||ZS Spisska Nova Ves||NHL Network|
|April 15||Russia||W, 5-4||ZS Spisska Nova Ves||NHL Network|
|April 17||Czech Republic||W, 5-2||ZS Spisska Nova Ves||NHL Network|
|April 18||Sweden||W, 5-1||ZS Spisska Nova Ves||NHL Network|
|W, 4-2||ZS Spisska Nova Ves||NHL Network|
|W, 4-3 OT||ZS Poprad||NHL Network|
|April 23||Finland • Gold Medal Game||W, 4-2||ZS Poprad||NHL Network|
The Czech Republic outshot the U.S. 26-23 … Team USA went 1-6 on the power play while the Czech Republic went 0-7 … Nine different players recorded a point in the game … The U.S. sits atop the Group B standings with a 3-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record and a +11 goal-differential … Max Gildon was honored as the U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA improved its all-time record against the Czech Republic to 12-1-1-1-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) … The U.S. is 59-0-1-15-1 all-time in preliminary round games ... For complete tournament information, visit the IIHF website. Team USA News, interviews, highlights and more can be found on the Team USA website ... Follow @USAHockey on Twitter for live scoring updates during the tournament. Scores will be designated with the #U18Worlds tag ... For additional coverage, visit the USA Hockey Facebook page and Instagram account.