USA Hockey has announced the roster for the IIHF Under 18 World Championships. The team will compete at the Under 18 World Championships opening on April 17 in Lapeenranta and Imatra, Finland.
Last year the Americans took home silver after falling 3-2 to Canada in the Gold Medal Game. Team USA had won the previous four gold medals at this tournament and has won a medal in 10 straight events. This squad will look to take the Americans back to the top of the Under-18 world.
20 of the 22 players spent the season with the US National Team Development program in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Kyle Connor skated this season for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League. While Alex Nedeljkovic is the lone CHL player, coming from the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. 19 players were on the US NTDP Under 18 squad, while Auston Matthews was on the under-17 team.
Under 17 eligible Jack Eichel is the lone returning player from last year’s squad. Eichel is not eligible to be drafted until the 2015 NHL Draft and is seen as the biggest challenger to Connor McDavid for the first overall pick. He also played for Team USA at this years World Junior Championships
Eichel scored 20 goals and 45 points in 24 games in the U18 team’s USHL season this year, and is expected to lead the American offence in Finland. Other USA Hockey U18 members to watch include Alex Tuch, Dylan Larkin, Sonny Milano, and Jack Glover, who are potential first round picks for the 2014 NHL Draft.
USA Hockey U18 Goaltenders
Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.), Alex Nedeljkovic (Parma, Ohio).
USA Hockey U18 Defense
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.), Johnathan MacLeod (Dracut, Mass.).
USA Hockey U18 Forwards
Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.), Kyle Connor (Shelby Township, Mich.), Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.), 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.) Joe Wegwerth (Brewster, N.Y.).
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