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2024 U18 Men's Worlds Insider | Team USA Claims Silver

By USA Hockey, 05/05/24, 4:00PM EDT


Follow along with Team USA's journey at the 2024 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship

The 2024 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship will take place from April 25 to May 5 in Espoo and Vantaa, Finland. Scroll for an inside look at Team USA's journey to defend gold, from the start of camp, all the way through the team's final moments at this year's world championship!

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May 5 | Team USA Takes Silver at Under-18 Men’s World Championship

Eiserman breaks USA Hockey NTDP goal-scoring record

ESPOO, Finland – The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team took home silver following a 6-4 loss to Canada in the gold medal game at the 2024 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship in Finland on Sunday. 

“I thought the game was a really well-played game between two really good teams,” said Nick Fohr, head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team. “It’s never about one play and it’s never about one player, this is a team game. I felt our team did a lot of really good things today, but unfortunately, we came up on the wrong end.”

The team’s silver medal marks the program’s 20th all-time medal at the tournament.

May 4 | USA Advances to Gold Medal Game With 7-2 Win Over Slovakia

Plante leads way with four points; Hagens sets single-tournament scoring record

ESPOO, Finland - Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) scored twice and added two assists and James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) collected three points to help lead the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team to a 7-2 win over Slovakia in the semifinals of the U18 World Championship. 

With the win, Team USA will advance to the gold medal-game to face Canada. Puck drop is set for 6:00 p.m. local / 11:00 a.m. ET tomorrow (May 5) evening.

"When you get to this point in the tournament, nothing is going to be easy and it was a tough match-up today," said Nick Fohr, head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team. "We were able to get to our style of play in the second and finish out really strong. I’m proud of our guys for working their way into the gold medal-game and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

For the full recap, click here.

May 3 | Go Time

The day before the medal-round games start is a day of lasts, including the last practice of the tournament. Just as on Wednesday afternoon, it was a short, simple skate to put all players in position to be at their best level for tomorrow's semifinal matchup against Slovakia.

The two sides squared off in the first game of the U18 Championship, a 9-0 win for the United States. But now heading into the semifinals, Slovakia has won three straight games and has been playing with confidence. But the focus around the room and team right now is all about ourselves. Play our game, regardless of opponent. 

It's also the last Insider entry of the trip. We want to thank you all for following along and for the next two days more than ever, go U-S-A! 

Elite Prospects' Cam Robinson was at Metro Arena to watch Team USA skate and got the chance to chop it up with the boys after for some quick, fun questions. Deke or shoot? Quinn or Jack Hughes? Matty or Brady Tkachuk? Tune in to see some answers with James Hagens, Christian Humphreys, Trevor Connelly and LJ Mooney.

In a way of celebrating the final practice skate, the entire staff and team joined together for lunch at Amarillo, a restaurant in the mall right across from the entryway to the hotel. Everyone got choices of a starter (salad, beef taco, nachos) and a main (two burger choices, grilled steak, burrito, quesadilla) as a nice little switch-up from the regular main dining cafeteria. 

FINNISH THE SENTENCE....with Christian Humphreys

If I were stranded on an island and could bring three things, they'd be… does it have cell service? Ummm the boys (that's one thing?!), a phone and a nice place to stay. (Very descriptive, Humps!) 

The best 'Chel player on the team is… It is Skay [Will Skahan] but I don't want to say it. But definitely Skahan. 

The teammate I've known the longest is… Whips [John Whipple] or Hags [James Hagens]. Just from playing hockey tournaments when we were younger, probably eight or nine years old. 

The piece of equipment I can't go without is… my stick. That's easy. Can't do anything without it. 

When I need a sugar buzz, I reach for… a Kit-Kat. That or a Snickers, but probably a Kit-Kat. 

To win gold, our team has to… play both sides of the puck. Play 200 feet. And score goals. 

May 2 | U.S. Advances to Semifinals with 4-0 Win Over Switzerland

Kempf pitches 17-save shutout, Hagens scores twice

ESPOO, Finland - James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) recorded two goals and an assist and Nick Kempf (Chicago, Ill.) pitched a 17-save shutout to help the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team to a 4-0 victory over Switzerland in the quarterfinals of the 2024 IIHF U18 Men's World Championship.

With the win, Team USA will advance to the semifinals on Saturday to face Slovakia.

“We had to battle a really hard Swiss team that made the game tough on us," said head coach Nick Fohr. "We didn’t have our best game, but good teams find a way to win, which I’m proud of our guys for. Now it’s on to rest and recovery as we get ready for the semifinals on Saturday.”

For the full recap, click here.

May 1 | Short & Sweet

After playing late last night and getting the first quarterfinal at Noon local tomorrow afternoon, Team USA had a very laid back and low key day to get ready for quarterfinals action, tomorrow against Switzerland (5:00 a.m. ET) on NHL Network.

Afternoon skate was less than 30 minutes today - quick and pointed drills to impact tomorrow's performance. We'll hopefully be checking back in with you after the quarterfinals! 

With free time back at the rink, it was lots of time spent in rooms. So some Xbox tournaments, poker and blackjack games were in rotation, because very little was open in the mall due to May Day.

May 1 is one of the biggest holidays in Finland. The Finnish name for May Day is 'Vappu' and it is celebrated on the night of April 30 into May 1 every year. Vappu is a celebration of workers and their achievements - essentially America's Labor Day. Finns like to go out for picnics, especially in the Helsinki's city center, and celebrate with sparkling drinks, homemade lemonade called 'sima', dessert called “tippaleipä” which is a funnel cake and just have fun in the sun to celebrate spring. You will find recent graduates wearing their graduation caps to celebrate as well. 

USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations, John Vanbiesbrouck, was with Team USA from the start of the tournament through game 3 of the round robin on Sunday. 'Beez' departed Finland because he has to turn his attention to the 2024 IIHF Men's World Championship where he helps assemble the staff and roster for the U.S. Men's National Team. He wished the team best of luck for the remainder of the tourney before leaving and they returned the favor to him and his group as they start Worlds next week.

In a little switch, Rod Braceful, who is serving as Team USA's assistant general manager, got into town in advance of the team's 9-4 win over Finland last night. Rod has a little less time than the rest of the team to get acclimated to the time change, but he'll be with us throughout the rest of the U18 Championship.

FINNISH THE SENTENCE....with Trevor Connelly

If I were stranded on an island and could bring three things, they'd be… water, a pair of shoes and a tent. I could find food around the island, but need the shelter. 

The best 'Chel player on the team is… Probably Humps [Christian Humphreys]. I’ve played a little bit, got smacked by Skay [Skahan]. 

The teammate I've known the longest is… John Whipple. We played in Italy together when we were about 12. 

The piece of equipment I can't go without is… probably my sticks. Special curve and they don’t sell it in stores. 

When I need a sugar buzz, I reach for… a milkshake. Cookies and cream. Five Guys. 

To win gold, our team has to… stay disciplined and play together as a group. Lean on each other in the big moments. Use our skill and playmaking ability to break down other teams. 

April 30 | USA Finishes First in Group A, Downs Finland 9-4

Hagens collects hat-trick and six points; Stiga adds natural hat-trick

ESPOO, Finland - James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) recorded three goals and three assists and Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass.) added a natural hat-trick as the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team topped Finland, 9-4, to cap preliminary round play at the 2024 IIHF U18 Men's World Championship.

With the win, Team USA finishes atop the Group A standings and will face Switzerland at 12:00 p.m. local / 5:00 a.m. ET in quarterfinal action on Thursday. 

"Teddy and James helped drive us offensively tonight, but this was a really good team win against a tough Finland team that battled hard," said Team USA head coach Nick Fohr after the game. "We will take advantage of the off day tomorrow and be ready for Switzerland on Thursday." 

For the full recap, click here.

April 29 | Playing For Group A

Monday marked the last day without a game for Team USA before the close of preliminary round action. While wanting to find the right balance between sharpening up the team's game on the ice and keeping the bodies rested, an approximately 30-minute skate was the answer. Four drills, lots of puck touches, dial in the details and off. When you get to the middle of these IIHF tournaments, that's all the time and energy that can be spent on "off-days".

The way Group A play has shaped up thus far, we already know that the winner of tomorrow night's USA-Finland showdown will finish atop the group and the loser will take the No. 2 seed heading into quarterfinals action on Thursday. 

Again this morning, the boys had an opportunity to visit and hang out with their families in the time between breakfast and lunch. Aside from quickly saying hi postgame at the rink before heading back to to the hotel, there really isn't much crossover between players and their families. So whether it was walking the mall or grabbing an ice cream, the extra time spent gives the feeling of normalcy.

FINNISH THE BIG 3...with Dakota Rhéaume-Mullen!

In this newer edition of "Finnish The..." we figured trios of hockey players may be a little too easy so it was on to basketball. Just about every player on the team is or was a multi-sport athlete growing up!

Dwyane Wade, LeBron James... Michael Jordan? I don't think I understand the game. (With a little help from the peanut gallery, Chris Bosh was answered and the game was understood.)

Ray Allen, Paul Pierce... Well it could be Rondo or Garnett. But KG.

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook... that's Oklahoma City, but I can't think of the third. (James Harden)

Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili... Why am I blanking on him?....Tim Duncan!

Shaquille O'Neal, Robert Horry... Is this the Magic? Oh no, wait, Kobe. 

Steph Curry, Klay Thompson... another one that could have two. KD or Draymond. 

Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman... I've got no clue. (Scottie Pippen)

We had to end on a good note, so a few lay-ups (zing) with some hockey trios...

Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith... Jonny Toews!

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin... Kris Letang

April 28 | Team USA Defeats Latva, 7-1

Connelly collects two goals and two assists to lead Team USA

ESPOO, Finland - Trevor Connelly (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) posted two goals and two assists to help lead the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team to a 7-1 win over Latvia in the third game of the preliminary round at the 2024 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship. Team USA will take on Finland Tuesday (April 30) to decide the Group A winner. 

"I think we’ve established our identity really well through three games," said Nick Fohr, head coach of Team USA. "We've done a greata job of playing with energy and trying to play a fast style of hockey. We’re happy with where we’re at and excited for the next challenge in a tough Finnish team.”

After an off day tomorrow, Team USA will finish preliminary round play Tuesday (April 30) evening against host Finland to decide the Group A winner. Puck drop is set for 6:00 p.m. local / 11:00 a.m. ET and the game will broadcast live on NHL Network.

For the full recap, click here.

April 27 | Team USA Defeats Norway, 8-2

Seven players contribute multiple points; Eiserman nets two

ESPOO, Finland - James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) collected a goal and two assists and six other U.S. skaters added multiple points as the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team skated past Norway, 8-2, tonight here at Metro Arena in the team's second preliminary round game at the IIHF U18 Men's World Championship. 

"I'm proud of our guys for managing the game tonight and coming away with another win,” said Team USA head coach Nick Fohr. “Now we need to shift our focus and be ready for a Latvian team tomorrow that we know is going to play hard and compete."

Team USA is back in action tomorrow (April 28) as they square off with Latvia in the third game of the preliminary round. Opening faceoff is set for 6:00 p.m. local / 11:00 a.m. ET and the game will air live on NHL Network. 

For the full recap, click here.

April 26 | Rest Is A Weapon

Once tournament action starts, off days are rare and need to be taken advantage of. Strength coach Joe Meloni loves to note that "rest, is indeed, a weapon." Meloni tracks the sensors that players wear throughout all practices and games, and one of his main roles is to ensure that the team is at peak physical performance at the right time. He and his team help determine lengths of practices, how hard to workout, when to workout and help ensure that players are peaking when it matters most. With the help of Joe and the sports science staff, Coach Fohr determined it was an off day from the ice for the majority of the team. The short skate this morning was taken by just the goalies, assistant coaches David Lassonde, Ryan Bourque and Matt Gilroy, and a couple skaters who tagged along as shooters. The rest of the team stayed in the hotel for the day to recharge the batteries. 

One of the best things the U18 team sees each year is the amount of support from friends and family, especially those that travel far distances to come cheer on the team live at the Championship. Today, there was dedicated time in the daily schedule for players to hang out with family, whether that was strolling around the mall, grabbing an extra bite to eat or maybe exploring the city a little bit. While we're here to win a championship, it's important to spend time with those that allow us to be in the position. 

For those that weren't meeting up with family, the rest got a true exploration day of the nearly 1,500,000 square foot mall that the team is staying at, the largest shopping and entertainment center in the Nordics. Included? A movie theater, a mini golf course, two full grocery/convenience stores (think Walmart/Meijer) and an abundance of shops and restaurants. 

Today's competition? Mini golf. Christian Humphreys ended up on top of the group comprised of he, Max Plante, Caleib Heil, Nick Kempf, Will Skahan and Lucas Van Vliet. We're thinking there might be a rematch later on in the trip! 

Forward Brendan McMorrow and his parents, John and Tracy

April 25 | Team USA Defeats Slovakia, 9-0

Hagens tallies four points; Kempf records 24-save shutout

ESPOO, Finland - Behind two goals and two assists from James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) and a 24-save shutout from Nick Kempf (Chicago, Ill.), the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team shut out Slovakia, 9-0, today in the opening game of the IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship. 

"I thought our team played really hard and played with pace, which is something we really wanted to establish today,” said head coach Nick Fohr. “We haven’t played many games in the last couple weeks and we were able to get everybody moving and up to speed out there.”

After an off day tomorrow, Team USA will return to the ice Saturday (April 27) to take on Norway. Puck drop is slated for 5:30 p.m. local / 10:30 a.m. ET and the game can be seen live on NHL Network.

For the full recap, click here.

Wednesday, April 24 | Ready to Roll

Today marked the final runthrough before Team USA begins the 2024 Under-18 Men's World Championship tomorrow as they begin preliminary round play against Slovakia. Once the tournament gets started, it's hard to find consistent practice time with the full team, which made today's skate that much more intense and focused. The U18s have a pretty standard routine on the ice in days before a game, and today was no different. What is a little non-standard is tomorrow's start time of 2:00 p.m. local here in Finland. With the overwhelming majority of games being played in the evening, the afternoon puck drop can throw a little hiccup into players' standard routines. One of those things? Pregame meal tomorrow is breakfast! But we've made it to game action and can't wait to hit the ice tomorrow.

Some players dread it, some have fun with it, but picture day is an IIHF event standard. Team USA came close to setting a record time getting through the individual portrait line with all players and staff snapping a photo for the IIHF and Team USA websites. Hopefully we see a lot of those headshots soon, as they post all the goal scorers and point getters on the scoreboard throughout the tournament.  

Team USA released its official 22-man roster to begin the U18 World Championship earlier this evening. Included were the team's leadership group: captain Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.) and alternate captains Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) and Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass.). The trio of players wore the same letters for the majority of the season with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Under-18 Team.

FINNISH THE SENTENCE...with Will Skahan!

The big, physical defenseman took a break during team snack to sit down and offered a little insight.

If I were stranded on an island and could bring three things, they'd be... water, a football and some Oreos. 

When I need a sugar buzz, I reach for... Oreos. Double Stuffed. I love Oreos. 

My favorite part of Finland is... how nice the people are. 

To win gold, our team has to... play together. Simple as that. 

Tuesday, April 23 | Gearing Up

The U.S. braved four or five inches of snow overnight and throughout the day to head to Espoo Areena for an hour-long skate in the afternoon today. The practice sheet is significantly colder than the main rink, but both players and staff powered through, and didn't feel that bad considering the outside conditions. Some rink staffers noted how after Team USA's practice, the ice is usually torn up pretty good, a credit to how hard our guys are working out there. We had the opportunity to throw a mic on defenseman Cole Hutson, who had fun with the ride along!

Metro Areena is the home to Group A preliminary-round play, as well as two quarterfinals, both semifinals and the medal-round games for the 2024 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship. The arena seats 6,982 for hockey games and is home to the hockey club, Kiekko-Espo. The team has previously played in Mesta, the second-highest professional league in Finland. But starting with the 2024-25 season, they will move up to Liiga, the top pro league in the country. The arena is also home to the Finnish national basketball team and has hosted Davis Cup (tennis) matches and the 2019 women's ice hockey World Cup. 

As part of Team USA's pre-practice meeting this morning, they hopped on a Zoom with Scott Zelkin, manager of USA Hockey's Junior Officiating Development Program. The rules in IIHF competition are slightly different than in domestic play in the United States. Small differences from face-off procedures to the way penalties are called can absolutely impact the outcomes of games, so Scott made sure all of Team USA was up to speed on what to expect for the international competition. We appreciate his time and well wishes moving forward!

No matter what the guys are doing, they always build the bond even more when traveling overseas. Sometimes it's Xbox tournaments - and more than hockey! Baseball fever has been going around and culminated with some heated MLB: The Show battles. 

Another group of guys went to the all-you-can-eat sushi buffet in the mall, and while there were no witnesses to tell the story, we can imagine the still-growing teenagers got their money's worth. 

Some were hanging out playing cards in the lobby and others got together for some movies. Tonight's viewing: The Dark Knight Rises. No matter the occasion, the boys are constantly together and building what will become lifelong friendships. 

FINNISH THE PAIR...with LJ Mooney!

We brought in the youngest player on the team for tonight's category of pairs. A nice performance from the Moon Show! 

Biscuits and... gravy

Hansel and... Gretel

Fish and... Chips

Jack and... Jill

Red Beans and... Corn? (We might need to work on LJ's Creole cuisine knowledge)

Batman and... Robin

Barbie and... Ken

Surf and... Turf

Ben and... Jerry

Tarzan and... Pards (Charlie Pardue, sitting next to Mooney). LJ has to brush up on the classics to get Mary Jane.

Stars and... Stripes - we tried to get Mooney to answer 'Moon' on this one, but he's all about the red, white and blue! Go USA!

Monday, April 22 | Settling In

Early this morning, Team USA departed from its camp home in Vierumaki to the location where it will be staying the rest of the IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship in Espoo. A little less than two hour drive landed the team just a few minutes west of Helsinki, where the boys got off the bus to see Espoo Metro Areena, the rink they will play all their Group A preliminary-round games.

Equipment manager Brock Bradley and athletic trainer Dennis MacDonald got to the rink a few hours ahead of the team with all the player bags and equipment bags, unloaded from the truck to the locker rooms and got everything in order to make it a quick turnaround for Team USA to get on the ice on the practice sheet. After a full session on the ice, the team took the approximately 30 minute ride back to the hotel to check in and get settled for the rest of the night.

Speaking of the hotel, it's located in Vantaa and is inside of an extremely big mall. That's right, four floors of shopping, restaurants, grocery stores, fun desserts to try...and a hotel. Team USA and all nine of the visiting teams at the U18 Championship are staying in the same accommodations so it has been common to see the Swiss or Canadians or Czechs on our way to and from meetings, meals and the rooms.  

There are exactly ZERO player birthdays in the three weeks abroad for the U18 Championship, so Team USA has to find opportunities to celebrate when they can. Today's reason: new food! And these boys can eat. It was a long time from breakfast until lunch, with a full bus ride and practice in between, so these plates were piled high! A nice salad bar, butter chicken and roast pork awaited the team and staff who were all ready to chow down. 

FINNISH THE LYRICS...with Cole Hutson

We took it to 2016 songs with Hutty, who claims he would go 100% if it was strictly country songs from 2010 to present. We might have to run it back with him!

Party rock is... in the house tonight. Obviously. 

My mama told me when I was young, we were... I really got not clue. But it's Lady Gaga. 

Baby you light up my world... like nobody else.

Blue eyes and auburn hair, sitting looking pretty... by the fire in a lawn chair. I told you I don't miss country. 

She ran away in her sleep and... dreamed of para, para, paradise. (Sung beautifully of course.) 

My heart's a stereo... it beats for you so listen close. 

You know what it is, everything... I do, I do it big!

(It's quite possible we didn't pick hard enough songs, but nice work from Cole!)

Sunday, April 21 | Off the Ice, Into the Water

Sunday was the last full day for Team USA at training camp in Vierumaki, and also the first day the team did not hit the ice in any capacity. So after breakfast and a quick recovery stretch/workout, the guys went to the arena to pack up their hockey bags. Big shoutout to equipment manager Brock Bradley, who gets all bags in order and ready to be transported to our next location.

The highlight of the day was a quick trip up to the top of a secluded mountain to partake in a Finnish smoke sauna. After receiving directions from the sauna master, everybody got to experience the hot-cold effect. The smoke sauna, which has two floors inside, the top floor being significantly hotter than the ground floor, could hold up to 12 people at a time, so the team went through in groups. After a sauna session, anywhere from 10-20 minutes long in the heat, the next directive was to take the short walk down to the dock and the nearly frozen lake for a little polar plunge! The author of this Insider may have taken a spill on a small ice spot on the walk down to the entertainment of the rest of the staff. Most were in and out quickly but some braver souls took a few-minute stroll in water temps that couldn't have been above 40 degrees. Then repeat the process: get back into the sauna for another session and another plunge to follow! After a few rounds, the crew got to dry off and eat a team dinner inside a mini castle-like dining room on the opposite side of the sauna. A surreal experience for sure.

huge help in the translation from the Finnish sauna master was USA's team leader Risto Talvio. Risto is a Finnish native and has served as team host for the United States in all international tournaments in Finland since 1984. If you’re wondering what a team host does, well it's more what doesn't he do? Team hosts have local knowledge, speak the native language and serve as the interface between the local organizing committee and the team in matters ranging from hotel accommodations and meal times to transportation and team services. Team USA thanks Risto for 30 years of service!

The rest of the day was filled with some downtime at the hotel, with cardsharps Cole Hutson and Noah Lapointe teaching digital content manager Caleigh Burchfield and hockey ops manager Gaby Turer Kemps. Pointer and Burchy finished the day with a commanding 35-10 lead in what looks to be an ongoing series!


Everyone's favorite game is back! Today we're talking with defenseman Sam Laurila:

If I were stranded on an island and could bring three things, they'd be... water, a Swiss-army knife and a Twix bar. 

My best friend on the team is... Cole Eiserman because we play MLB The Show together. 

When I need a sugar buzz, I reach for... cookies. My billet mom's chocolate chip cookies. 

My favorite part of Vierumaki... the smoke sauna and jumping in the cold lake.

To win gold, our team has to... play to our identity and be physical.

Saturday, April 20 | Pre-Tourney Victory

VIERUMAKI, Finland LJ Mooney (West Mifflin, Pa.) had a goal and two assists and Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) added a pair of scores as the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team skated past Sweden, 8-5, in the team’s lone pre-tournament game ahead of the 2024 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship.

Team USA earned the first three goals of the game to open the first. Mooney found the back of the net on a U.S. power play with 8:02 to play in the first. Off of feeds from Logan Hensler (Woodbury, Minn.) and Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass.), Mooney dragged the puck around a defender and finished on his backhand from the bottom of the left circle.

Less than 30 seconds later, Humphreys doubled the USA lead after he finished from the same spot after an offensive-zone faceoff win. Austin Baker (White Lake, Mich.) and Charlie Pardue (Winnetka, Ill.) assisted on the 2-0 goal.

The United States made it three in a row with another man-up tally, this time from Stiga. Trevor Connelly (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) controlled the pace along the right-wing boards and fired a beautiful seam pass to Mooney. He went quickly to Kamil Bednarik (Chicago, Ill.), whose initial attempt went off the post, but Stiga was on the doorstep to knock it in.

Sweden answered with a power-play score of their own to make it a 3-1 game right before the close of the period. From behind the net, Jacob Ihs Wozniak found Wille Magnertoft in front, who put his shot over the blocker of U.S. netminder Nick Kempf (Chicago, Ill.).

The Swedes came out strong in the middle frame as they netted three in a row to take a 4-3 lead. Leo Sahlin Wallenius scored just over five minutes in on a screen shot from the point that got by Caleb Heil (Victoria, Minn.), who played the second period in net for Team USA. Mans Torreson evened the score at three goals apiece after he converted on a 2-on-1 break 65 seconds later. Ihs Wozniak briefly put Sweden ahead with a blind shot from the blue line after an extended offensive-zone possession for the Swedes with 7:43 to play in the period.

Team USA worked the game back to even less than two minutes later on a Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) score from the right circle. Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) made a great defensive play to knock the puck free from a defender and right onto the stick of Plante, who connected quickly.

Humphreys put the U.S. back in the lead as he converted on a second-chance opportunity with 4:15 to play in the middle period. Dakoda Rheaume-Mullen (Northville, Mich.) found Mooney for the initial shot from the hashes. After it was turned aside, Humphreys made no mistake for his second score of the evening.

Team USA connected for the first pair of scores in the final period of regulation, getting goals from Connelly and Lucas Van Vliet (Livonia, Mich.) in an eight-minute span.

After Sweden got one back, James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) ended the game’s scoring with 2:07 to play for the 8-5 final.

Team USA used all three netminders for a period each. Kempf finished with nine saves, Heil added 11 in the second and Jack Parsons (Ithaca, N.Y.) earned the win in net and he completed his 20 minutes of action with four stops.

The U.S. will open up preliminary-round play at the 2024 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship on Thursday as they take on Slovakia. Puck drop is slated for 2:00 p.m. local / 7:00 a.m. ET from Metro Arena in Espoo, Finland.

Friday, April 19 | Preparing for Game Action

The U.S. had its third practice together here in Finland, with the full team on the ice just after 2:00 p.m. local. Head coach Nick Fohr and his team of assistant coaches, including Matt Gilroy, Ryan Bourque, David Lassonde and Mike Hamilton, put the U18s through a nearly two-hour session in advance of its first pre-tournament game tomorrow against Sweden here in Vierumaki. It will be nice to play a team full of guys in different sweaters. The lone pre-tournament game will drop the puck at 7:00 p.m. CET / 12:00 p.m. ET tomorrow night, and unfortunately, will not be streamed anywhere. Check back into tomorrow’s notebook to see results and info from the contest!

On the short walks to and from practice and workouts, the guys got to experience the true Finnish weather: cold and snowy! Temperatures didn't get much above 30 degrees Farenheit and snow accumulation racked up a little more than two inches with more coming in overnight. 

With outside activities not being much of an option for any soccer, football or anything else to compete in, some of the players have taken to a cribbage tournament, led by assistant coach David Lassonde. Defenseman Cole Hutson is the biggest challenger thus far, collecting a win, but the blueliners are getting into the action.

John Whipple and Noah Lapointe have started picking up the game and are looking for their seat at the table, playing on Coach Lassonde's fully customized goalie board.


Team USA travels with a larger staff to the IIHF events than they would throughout the regular season, including a handful of specialty staff members that do a lot of the work behind the scenes.

Joe Meloni, who serves as the NTDP's strength and conditioning coach throughout the season, is on staff at U18 Worlds as the lead sports science guy for the team. The Massachusetts native is tasked with ensuring players maintain proper hydration, that they're loose and limber with pre- and post-skate workouts and stretches. Meloni says Drip Drop is the current electrolyte powder of choice, which helps the team maintain proper sodium, glucose, zinc and Vitamin C levels. He suggests the use of Cheribundi, an anti-inflammatory drink made from tart cherry juice, to help reduce inflammation and to aid in quality of sleep. 

Dr. Charlie Popkin is Team USA's physician for the 2024 U18 Men's World Championship and the Minnesota native is working to ensure the team stays healthy in all aspects throughout the trip. He has already aided sore shoulders, unclogged some water in ears and just a couple days into the trip, has memorized all names and faces around him. Impressive work for the Columbia grad! Popkin authors a monthly column for USA Hockey Magazine called Ask Dr. Hockey and this month’s topic is around the use of smelling salts in hockey and some of the effects they can have on the body. Check it out in your latest edition of USA Hockey Magazine!

FINNISH THE SLOGAN....with Shane Vansaghi and Cole Eiserman

Today, we continue our "Finnish The..." series with slogans! It was an original effort from power forward Shane Vansaghi, who used a little help from Cole Eiserman when tagged in. The guys were given categories in advance for some small clues!

Have a break, have a.... (after looking to Eisy on the first question) Kit-Kat!

For everything else, there's.... US Bank? Something money related. (MasterCard, actually, but on the right track!)

Hands up if you use... I'm saying Dove but it's not Dove. Degree? (Maybe third guess would have been the charm - Right Guard is correct!)

It gives you... Wiiiiings. That's RedBull. 

Taste the... Oh, I should know this one. Sour? (A befuddled Eiserman scolds him that it's 'Rainbow' and Skittles!)

Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's... uhhhh Ulta Beauty? Don't know that one. (Maybe Maybelline wasn't the best choice by the questioner.)

Snap, crackle... Pop. That's Rice Krispies.

Just... Do it. Obviously know Nike.

Thursday, April 18 | Finding a Rhythm

There's no way around the fact that hockey players are creatures of habit, on and off the ice. Getting a full day under our belts in Finland is the first step to finding that daily routine in a new location.

Set meal times, a full-length practice and post-skate work in the gym, just as they do back home, all returned to the menu for today. One of the biggest differences? The temperature! Usually we don't think of Michigan as hot, but when the team left it was nearly 75 degrees in Detroit; high of 38 today in Vierumaki! And they're calling for some snow in the coming days. Bundle up! 


The group was able to sneak in some time for exploration this morning here in Vierumaki, located about two hours northeast of Helsinki, the capital. 

Vierumäki is a village located in the Finnish city of Heinola in the Paijat-Hame region. The population is around 1,000, but Vierumaki is mostly known for its sports complex, which houses international ice sports events. 

The complex has an ice rink, which has two hybrid sheets of ice that are set up for curling as well as hockey. Also included is an indoor sports hall which has two gyms, an indoor track, kids play place, study area and indoor courts good for badminton, soccer, pickleball and archery.

Outside, the lands showcase a golf course, tennis courts, soccer fields, obstacle course and playgrounds around the hotel and cabins that house everybody.

In addition to Team USA, the teams from Sweden and Switzerland are preparing for the U18 World Championship, and Slovakia will be coming in after their pre-tournament game tonight.

Vierumaki has been host to the 2001, 2009 and 2016 Four Nations Cups (with the U.S. winning the final two), the 2008 Division II Women's World Championship and the 2013 IIHF Under-18 Women's World Championship.  

FINNISH THE LYRICS....with Lucas Van Vliet

Today's "Finnish The..." segment brings us back to the birth year of this year's team: songs from 2006! Let's see how Vlieter does:

Getting born in the state of... Mississippi. (Dani California / Red Hot Chili Peppers)

What hurts the most, was being so close and.... broke. (Oops. What Hurts the Most / Rascal Flatts)

Every time we touch, I get this feeling and .... every time we kiss, I swear I can fly. (Everytime We Touch / Cascada) 

If I just lay here, would you lie with me and.... just hold me. (Not quite! Chasing Cars / Snow Patrol)

Because of you I never stray... too far from you. (Couple words right! Because of You / Kelly Clarkson) 

Release your inhibitions, feel the... rain on your skin. (Bingo! Nice one to end on. Unwritten / Natasha Bedingfield) 

Not bad from Lukie! Two-for-six with a couple close ones. We might have to switch the year up later in the trip!

Wednesday, April 17 | The Journey Begins

The U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team began its journey abroad today...errr, yesterday evening, time gets away from you when you seemingly lose a night... from USA Hockey Arena, and as of this afternoon, the team is set up for training camp in Vierumaki, Finland.

The trip started with much joy and jubilation, as the team bused down to Detroit Metro Airport. The group was all energy at the airport and throughout the seven-and-a-half hour first leg to Amsterdam. While the clock crept past midnight ET and 6:00 a.m. local, the layover saw a little less noise down to virtual silence on the second flight into Finland....until somebody (we won't mention any names @Austin Baker) made every head turn with some thundering snores.

"The loudest I've ever heard on an airplane," chimed in defenseman Dakoda Rhéaume-Mullen on the walk to practice later that night. "Somebody should have shoved him awake a little sooner."

After landing in Helsinki, collecting all and picking up team doctor Dr. Charlie Popkin from his flight, the team started its trek to Vierumaki.

After checking in and a quick bite to eat at the hotel, it was right to the rink to loosen the legs and get the blood flowing. A thorough warmup led by strength and conditioning coach Joe Meloni got the juices going again. On the ice, it was quick and active drills, including 2-on-1's, a little keepaway and small-area and cross-ice games to round out Day 1 of practice. Lots of energy and pace throughout the skate. After a long travel day, when you finally get back on the ice, the feeling of normal can creep back.

It's a quick night before bed for both the players and staff as nobody will need too much help to get a good night's rest off the extended travels over the past 24 hours. After a tiresome first day, tomorrow the group will look to get into a rhythm, honing in their sleep and practice schedules to fully adjust to the time change.


Throughout the 2024 Under-18 Men's World Championship in Finland, the daily Insider will allow you to get to know a few members of Team USA in any particular "Finnish The..."  category of the day! Your first edition is with goaltender Nick Kempf.

If I were stranded on an island and could bring three things, they'd be... a football, some food and maybe a golf club, work on my game a little bit. Wait, I'd need a ball. No football, a golf ball.

The best 'Chel player on the team is... Noah Lapointe. He plays a lot so he should be up there. I know he's pretty good.

My best friend on the team is... probably Noah Lapointe again. Chicago guys.

My favorite piece of equipment is... my helmet. I get to customize a lot of my gear, but I can make that more personal and really do whatever I want.

When I need a sugar buzz, I reach for... probably a popsicle, an ice pop. I don't eat ice cream, popsicles are really the only dessert I eat. The red, white and blue ones.

To win gold, our team has to... I think we have to buy into our systems and rely on one another. We can't worry about what's happened this year, we know that we're a good team and can do it now.