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U.S. U18 Men's Nat'l Team Looks to Continue Historic Run

By Dan Scifo, 04/17/19, 3:45PM EDT


Team USA has medaled in 15 consecutive IIHF U18 Men's World Championships

The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team is looking to add to an already historic run with a gold medal at the upcoming 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Under-18 Men’s World Championship, set for April 18-28 in Sweden.

The Americans have earned 15 consecutive medals, including gold in seven of the past 10 tournaments. Last year, the U.S. captured the silver medal after falling against Finland in the gold-medal game.

“After losing last year in the championship, I think we all really want to get the gold medal back for our country,” U.S. defenseman Cam York (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) said. “I think we’re all really excited.”

York is one of five players who claimed silver last year. The other four returners are Cole Caufield (Stevens Point, Wis.), Jack Hughes (Orlando, Fla.), Alex Turcotte (Island Lake, Ill.) and Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.).

Hughes passed Clayton Keller for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (NTDP) program points record and Caufield broke Phil Kessel’s mark for goals on the same play during a game in March.

Knight won four games in goal during last year’s tournament, while York recorded six assists and was named to the Media All-Star Team. Turcotte scored two goals and five points and Caufield tallied four goals and six points, both in seven games during last year’s tournament.

U.S. Roster

“It has been on our minds the past year,” Caufield said. “The guys who were there last year kind of know what it takes. Going into the tournament, we know what to expect.”

John Wroblewski (Neenah, Wis.), who just finished his third season as NTDP head coach, will lead Team USA for a second time after previously guiding the U.S. to a gold medal in 2017, the team's seventh title in nine years. 

“To have done that, especially in this era of competition has been truly an amazing accomplishment and one that we hope to continue,” Wroblewski said. “I think for the last 15 years we’ve helped to push the envelope of competitive hockey across the board. It’s not something you take for granted, but you’re constantly focused on the next one. At the end, it feels great to win, but it takes a lot of determination and fortitude.”

The U.S. has won 16 medals since claiming its first gold at the event in 2002. Of those 16, the Americans have won 10 gold medals. A win this year will give the U.S. 11 total and 10 in the past 16 years. The run includes six championships in seven years, including four straight gold medals from 2009-12.

Tournament Homepage

“It would be really cool to win gold, not just for this team, but for all the people who were here before us and worked really hard to accomplish that,” York said. “It’s something we really want to do and hopefully we can do it.”

The Americans are seeking redemption from last year’s tournament, too.

“Ever since the final buzzer went off last year, everything we worked on was to get back in a spot where we could compete for that gold medal and get that back to the U.S.,” Wroblewski said. “We feel we’ve got the personnel to do it. It’s all about how we deal with adversity that hits throughout the tournament.”

The U.S. went 2-2 in last year’s preliminary round before outscoring Russia and the Czech Republic 9-2 in the quarters and semifinals. In the gold-medal game, the Americans tied the game at two after falling behind by two goals in the first period. A shorthanded goal midway through the third period proved to be the difference as Finland claimed gold.

“It’s really special to know that the past 15 years we’ve medaled, and it would be special to get any medal, but we’re looking for that gold medal,” Caufield said. “It’s the most important one and it’s the one that’s on our mind.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

2019 U.S. Tournament Schedule

All games at Fjallraven Center

Fri., April 12 Finland
Heinola, Finland L, 0-1 None Cam York
Sat., April 13 Switzerland
Heinola, Finland W, 8-0 None Jack Hughes
Thu., April 18 Sweden
Fjallraven Center
Ornskoldsvik, Sweden
W, 6-1 NHL Network Cole Caufield
Fri., April 19 Slovakia
Fjallraven Center
Ornskoldsvik, Sweden
W, 12-5 NHL Network Jack Hughes
Sun., April 21 Russia
Fjallraven Center
Ornskoldsvik, Sweden
W, 6-3 NHL Network Alex Turcotte
Tue., April 23 Latvia
Fjallraven Center
Ornskoldsvik, Sweden
W, 7-1 NHL Network John Beecher
Thu., April 25 Finland
Fjallraven Center
Ornskoldsvik, Sweden
W, 6-0 NHL Network Jack Hughes
Sat., April 27 Russia
Fjallraven Center
Ornskoldsvik, Sweden
L, 2-3 (SO) NHL Network Cole Caufield
Sun., April 28 Canada
Bronze-Medal Game
Fjallraven Center
Ornskoldsvik, Sweden
W 5-2 NHL Network Cam York

2019 U.S. U18 World Championship News