Friday, April 23, 2010

USA gets gold at under-18s!!!!

They did it!

Back-to-back gold medals for Team USA in the World Under-18s for the second time in USA Hockey history! (h/t to the individual who pointed out to me that USA did it in 2005 and 2006 as well)

2010 first-rounder Jack Campbell's unheard of u-18 shutout string of 13 periods without allowing a goal came to an end at 16:54 of the third period, but USA held on for a 3-1 victory. After losing 4-2 to the Swedes to open the tourney, Campbell allowed just two more goals in his next five games, going 5-0 and finishing with an eye-popping 0.83 GAA and .965 save percentage. He made 33 saves on 34 shots after facing just 25 shots combined in his previous two starts.

And I don't need to remind you that he did this against some of the best competition in the world for his age group.

Rocco Grimaldi gave the U.S. a 3-0 lead, Ludvig Rensfeldt (more on him later) got Sweden on the board.

No points for Johan Larsson means that Teemu Pulkkinen led the tournament in scoring with 15 points in 6 games.

A hearty congratulations to USA head coach Kurt Kleindendorst and his staff to say nothing of the players for going over there with a purpose, a system and high degree of execution to give USA Hockey the most successful year of amateur hockey in history.

To recap: 2009 World Under-18 Championship gold, 2010 World Junior (Under-20) Championship gold, 2010 Under-17 Championship gold, and 2010 World Under-18 gold. If the U.S. had gotten the bounce in OT instead of Sidney Crosby and Canada, we'd be looking at a complete running of the table in hockey by USA in 2010.

Campbell is the most decorated U.S. goalie in amateur history, and his draft status will reflect that fact in June.

More on this tournament later, as I can get insights and notes from scouts in attendance. Will probably take a couple of days at least, but hang in there.

From what I can gather, Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson, an odds-on favorite for the top selection in the 2011 NHL draft, had a poor game. He finished the game a -2 with no points. Oh well-- good learning experience for the 17-year-old, and he at least comes away with a silver medal.

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