LUCERNE, Switzerland - Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz./2-3) and Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./1-4) earned five points each and Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) totaled four points (2-2) as the U.S. National Under-18 Team downed Slovakia, 10-0, here this afternoon at Arena Lucerne. With the win, Team USA improves to 1-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) at the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 World Championship.
The United States struck quickly in the first frame, lighting the lamp when Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) backhanded his own rebound home. Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Brendan Warren (Carleton, Mich.) assisted on the play. Midway through the period, Tkachuk doubled the U.S. lead on the power play, jamming the puck past Team Slovakia goaltender Vladimir Cibulka. Roslovic and Matthews combined to help set up the play. Roslovic then scored back-to-back markers to push the Team USA lead to four. Tkachuk, Matthews and Roslovic cycled the puck on the power play before the puck found Roslovic's stick and finally the back of the net. Roslovic shoveled in a Matthews feed with 1:43 left in the first for the fourth U.S. tally. Charles McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y.) also assisted.
Team USA notched six goals in the second stanza to build a 10-0 advantage. Matthews scored just 28 seconds in the period before adding another tally at 4:49. Less than two minutes later, Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) added to the U.S. goal total, chasing Cibulka to the bench. Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.), Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.) and Warren closed out the scoring with tallies in 1:41 of action.
Evan Sarthou (Black Diamond, Wash.) kicked out all seven shots he faced in the third period and 15 total in the contest to complete the shutout of Slovakia.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team next faces Sweden on Sunday, April 19. Puck drop is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET and live, streaming video is available free of charge through FASTHockey.com.
Team USA outshot Slovakia, 44-15 ... The United States went 2-4 on the power play while Russia went 0-2 ... Auston Matthews was named Team USA's best player ... Luke Kunin is serving as captain for Team USA, while Auston Matthews and Colin White are alternate captains ... The U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team is led by Don Granato, serving as head coach at his second IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship. Granato is currently in his fourth season as one of two head coaches at USA Hockey's National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan ... Twenty-two players on the U.S. roster come from USA Hockey's NTDP. Goaltender Evan Sarthou skated for the Western Hockey League's Tri-City Americans this winter ... Team USA's roster includes 20 players born in 1997 and three from the 1998 birth year. Defenseman Steven Ruggiero, born Jan. 1, 1997, is the oldest player on Team USA, while goaltender Jake Oettinger, born Dec. 18, 1998, is the youngest ... Thirteen different states are represented on the roster. New York leads the way with five skaters, while Illinois and Missouri boast three each ... The U.S. enters the tournament having captured a record 11-consecutive medals, including gold medals in five of the last six years (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014) ... Team USA has won eight gold medals all-time, the most of any country in IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship history. The event began in 1999. Team USA earned its first gold medal in 2002 ... The U.S. will play in Group A alongside Germany, Russia, Slovakia and Sweden ... All Team USA games, including the medal round, will be streamed live on USAHockey.FASTHockey.com free of charge ... 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 ... The U.S. National Under-18 Team trains with The Hockey IntelliGym, a software program that trains hockey sense. Visit USAHockeyIntelliGym.com for more information.
Photo by Matt Zambonin (HHOF-IIHF Images)