BRECLAV, Czech Republic — Kailer Yamamoto (Spokane, Wash.) scored a pair of goals and added one assist as the U.S. Under-18 Select Team defeated the Czech Republic, 4-3, here today at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.
With the win, the U.S. finishes the tournament in fifth place.
“I’m very proud of our guys today,” said Derek Plante (Cloquet, Minn.), head coach of the 2015 U.S. Under-18 Select Team. “I wish they had more time to play together as a team because they were really coming together nicely and getting better everyday.”
The Czech Republic opened the scoring with a wrist shot by Ondrej Najman at 8:09 of the first period.
Team USA scored three times in the first 3:48 of the second period to pull ahead, 3-1. Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie, Minn.) tied the game with a power-play tally :31 into the second stanza after Yamamoto found him alone in the right circle. Within a span of 1:45, Ty Farmer (O’Fallon, Mo.) converted on an end-to-end play then Mittelstadt sent a pass to Yamamoto on a two-on-one break for Yamamoto’s first goal of the game.
Kristian Reichel pulled the Czech Republic within one when he scored a power-play goal at 16:04.
John Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) was awarded a penalty shot with 3:32 remaining in the second period, but was unable to put it home.
The U.S. extended its lead to 4-2 at 2:09 of the final stanza when Yamamoto collected a pass from Mittelstadt in the slot and tucked the puck past Czech Republic goaltender Josef Korenare.
The Czech Republic pulled its goaltender for an extra skater in the final minutes and made it 4-3 with 1:04 to play, but the U.S. held on for the victory.