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Gameday: U.S. Meets Czech Republic in Semifinal

04/28/2018, 2:45am EDT
By USAHockey.com

Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. local and 10:30 a.m. ET and will be televised in the U.S. live on NHL Network.

The U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team faces Czech Republic this evening in the second of two semifinal matchups at the 2018 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship here in Chelyabinsk, Russia. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. local and 10:30 a.m. ET and will be televised in the U.S. live on NHL Network.

MATCHUP VS. CZECH REPUBLIC

The winner of this game will advance to the Gold Medal Game tomorrow (April 29/7:30 p.m. local) and face the winner of the Finland vs. Sweden matchup that is taking place immediately before this game. The losers will compete in the Bronze Medal game tomorrow (April 29/3:30 p.m. local).

The Czech Republic finished the preliminary round is 1-0-0-3 (W-OTW-OTL-L) and finished in fourth place in Group B. They opened the tournament by falling to Slovakia (5-2) and Russia (3-2) before earning its first win against France (9-2). They closed out preliminary round play by falling to Finland 4-2 and then traveled to Magnitogorsk for its quarterfinal showdown with Group A's top-seed, Canada. In that game, Petr Cajka scored the third-period winner and goalie Lukas Dostal made 33 saves as the Czech Republic upset Canada, 2-1. 

The Czech Republic is led offensively by Jakub Lauko, who has recorded six points (3-3-6) in five games. Dostal has appeared in four games for the Czech Republic, amassing a goals-against average of 3.14 and .900 save percentage.  

All-time, the U.S. is 12-1-1-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) in 15 games against the Czech Republic at this tournament and hasn't lost since the 2002 playoff round. The U.S. has outscored the Czech Republic 69-25 in those 15 matchups.

This will mark the third time the two countries have faced each other in the semifinal (2004, 2006, 2018), with the U.S. previously winning both of those matchups. Overall the U.S. is 7-1 (W-L) against the Czech Republic in the playoffs. The last time the two teams met in the playoff round was 2016, where the U.S. shutout the Czech Republic 8-0. 

The two teams last met a year ago in the preliminary round where Max Gildon (Plano, Texas/University of New Hampshire) recorded a hat trick and Dylan St. Cyr (Northville, Mich./University of Notre Dame) made 24 saves to help the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team defeat the Czech Republic, 5-2.

THINGS WORTH MENTIONING

The U.S. has advanced to 16 straight semifinals and has a record of 7-5-1-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) in the semifinals ... The U.S. has won the last 13 matchups with the Czech Republic ... Jack Hughes (Orlando, Fla./USAH NTDP currently is tied for first in the tournament in points with 11 (4-7-11) through five games ... Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass/USAH NTDP) is second in the tournament in goal scoring with six through five games and has scored in each U.S. game ... The underage (2001 birth year) skaters (Cole Caufield, Jack Hughes, Alex Turcotte and Cam York) have combined for 28 points through five games for Team USA ... The U.S. is averaging 42.6 shots per game through five games and is only allowing opponents to 23 shots per game ... The U.S. owns the second-ranked power play and top-ranked penalty kill units in the tournament ... The U.S. has earned two medals at the U18 Men's World Championship while on Russian soil. 

SEMIFINAL HISTORY

The U.S. will play in its 16th consecutive semifinal matchup in the 20-year history of the IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship. The U.S. holds a record of 7-5-1-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) in those previous 15 matchups. The U.S. has met Canada in the semifinals more than any other country and has collected a record of 5-1 (W-L) in those six matchups.

WAHLSTROM'S SCORING STREAKS CONTINUES

Following his sixth goal of the 2018 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship in the quarterfinal victory against Russia, forward Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass./USAH NTDP) has scored at least one goal in the first five games of the tournament. He has also cracked the top five list for goals scored by U.S. skaters during this tournament. Wahlstrom scored four goals in last year's tournament, bringing his career total to ten. Wahlstrom is now in sole possession of fourth all-time and needs two more goals over the next two games to tie Jeremy Morin's (2007 & 2008/SC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers) mark of 12 (with Brett Sterling (2002/Chicago Wolves). Phil Kessel (2004 & 2005/Pittsburgh Penguins) holds the U.S. record with 16 goals in 12 games.

U.S. Homepage

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Tournament Website


U.S. Schedule

Date Opponent Round Time (Local/ET)/Results Location Television
Sun., April 15 France Exhibition W, 15-0 Traktor Ice Rink
Chelyabinsk, Russia
NHL Network
Thurs., April 19 Canada Preliminary L, 4-6 Metallurg Ice Rink
Magnitogorsk, Russia
NHL Network
Fri., April 20 Switzerland Preliminary W, 8-5 Metallurg Ice Rink
Magnitogorsk, Russia
NHL Network
Sun., April 22 Sweden Preliminary L, 1-3 Metallurg Ice Rink
Magnitogorsk, Russia
NHL Network
Tues., April 24 Belarus Preliminary W, 8-0 Metallurg Ice Rink
Magnitogorsk, Russia
NHL Network
Thurs., April 26 Russia Quarterfinals W, 5-1 Traktor Ice Rink
Chelyabinsk, Russia
NHL Network
Sat., April 28 Czech Republic Semifinals W, 4-1 Traktor Ice Rink
Chelyabinsk, Russia
NHL Network
Sun., April 29 Finland Gold Medal Game L, 2-3 Traktor Ice Rink
Chelyabinsk, Russia
NHL Network

2018 U18 Men's Worlds News

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