April 17, 2017 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - U.S. National Team
SPISSKA NOVA VES, Slovakia - Max Gildon (Plano, Texas) scored three times and Dylan St. Cyr (Northville, Mich.) made 24 saves to help the U.S. National Under-18 Team defeat the Czech Republic, 5-2, here today in its third preliminary round game of the 2017 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship.
With the win, the U.S. sits atop the Group B standings with nine points and has clinched a spot in the quarterfinals to be played on Thursday (April 20). Tomorrow's final preliminary round game against Sweden will determine the top seed from Group B. That game is slated for 3:30 p.m. local (9:30 a.m. ET) and will be shown live on NHL Network.
"We didn't play a lot of 5-on-5 tonight with all the penalties and we have to continue to work on a few fine details but we will address those tonight," said U.S. head coach John Wroblewski (Neenah, Wis.). "Overall, I thought Dylan [St. Cyr] played great for us and he continues to be our rock."
The Czech Republic took the lead just 1:51 into the opening period, but the U.S. tied the game at 12:24 on a shorthanded tally by Brady Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.). After a long stretch pass from Phil Kemp (Greenwich, Conn.), Tkachuk slid the puck between the legs of Czech Republic netminder Jakub Skarek after deking to his backhand.
Team USA took the lead 1:22 later on a rush play that ended with Gildon wristing a shot to the top left corner of the net. Grant Mismash (Edina, Minn.) picked up an assist on the play.
St. Cyr and the U.S. killed a late Czech Republic power play to preserve the 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
Jacob Tortora (Victor, N.Y.) extended the U.S. lead to 3-1 at the 3:43 mark of the second stanza when he received a pass from David Farrance (Victor, N.Y.), skated behind the defense for a breakaway, and fired a wrist shot past Skarek's outstretched blocker.
St. Cyr kept the game at 3-1 when he stopped a Czech penalty shot at with 9:39 left in the middle frame.
Gildon scored his second goal of the afternoon during a 4-on-4 odd-man rush with 8:38 remaining in the period. Logan Cockerill (Brighton, Mich.) saucered a pass to Gildon, who fired the puck into the open net. Tortora also earned an assist on the play. The goal prompted a goaltending change by the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic responded :28 later with a goal of its own during a net-front scramble to cut Team USA's lead to 4-2 entering the final period.
Gildon completed his hat trick with two minutes left in regulation with a wrist shot from the point on the power play. Quinn Hughes (Orlando, Fla.) and Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass.) earned assists on the play.
St. Cyr finished with 24 saves on 26 shots to earn his third victory of the tournament.