COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey today announced the 22-player roster for the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team that will compete at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s Under-18 World Championship from April 17-27, in Lappeenranta, Finland.
All Team USA tournament games will be streamed live on USAHockey.FASTHockey.com.
The U.S. squad seeks its eighth gold medal in the event after capturing the tournament title in four of the last five years. Team USA had won four-consecutive gold medals before having its streak snapped last year in Sochi, Russia. The silver medal in 2013 marked 10-straight top-three finishes for the U.S.
Highlighting the roster is forward Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.), the lone returnee from last year’s team.
The roster for Team USA carries seven defensemen, including Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill.), Ryan Collins (Bloomington, Minn.), Jack Dougherty (Cottage Grove, Minn.), Brandon Fortunato (North Hills, N.Y.), Jack Glover (Golden Valley, Minn.), Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.) and Johnathan MacLeod (Dracut, Mass.).
Eichel is among the group of 13 forwards, which also includes Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.), Kyle Connor (Shelby Township, Mich.), Jared Fiegl (Parker, Colo.), Shane Gersich (Chaska, Minn.), Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.), Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.), Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.), Dylan Pavelek (Marysville, Mich.), Nolan Stevens (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) and Joe Wegwerth (Brewster, N.Y.).
Backstopping Team USA will be goaltenders Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) and Alex Nedeljkovic (Parma, Ohio).
The U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team will play one pre-tournament game, squaring off with Germany on April 14 in Vierumaki, Finland. Team USA then opens tournament play on April 17 against Denmark at Lappeenranta Arena at 3 p.m. local time (8 a.m. EDT). Team USA’s complete schedule can be found below.
The U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team will be led by Danton Cole, serving as head coach at his second IIHF Men’s Under-18 World Championship. Cole is currently in his fourth season as one of two head coaches at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. … Twenty players on the U.S. roster come from USA Hockey’s NTDP. Kyle Connor skated this season for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League.
Alex Nedeljkovic played for the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers … Team USA’s roster includes 20 players born in 1996 and two from the 1997 birth year. Forward Auston Matthews, born Sept. 17, 1997, is Team USA’s youngest player, while Nedeljkovic, born Jan. 7, 1996, is the oldest … Eleven different states are represented on the roster. New York leads the way with five skaters, while Minnesota boasts four.
The U.S. enters the tournament having captured a record 10-consecutive medals, including back-to-back golds in 2005-06 and four-straight gold medals from 2009-12; three silver medals (2004, 2007, 2013); and one bronze medal (2008). Team USA’s seven gold medals are the most of any country in IIHF Men’s Under-18 World Championship history. The event began in 1999. Team USA earned its first gold medal in 2002…
The U.S. will play in Group B alongside the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland. Group A consists of Canada, Germany, Russia, Slovakia, and Sweden … 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 and Under-17 Teams train with The Hockey IntelliGym, a software program that trains hockey sense. To learn more, visit USAHockeyIntelliGym.com.