Photos by Richard Wolowicz (HHOF-IIHF Images).
LAPPEENRANTA, Finland - Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./2-1) and Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y./1-2) recorded three points each, and Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) registered Team USA's second-straight shutout as the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team downed Denmark, 7-0, here tonight at Lappeenranta Arena. With the win Team USA improves to 2-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) in preliminary round action at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's Under-18 World Championship.
Team USA opened the scoring midway through the first frame. After killing a Denmark power play, Eichel skated toward the right side of the crease sending an attempted pass off of the goaltender's pad. Milano buried the rebound to give the United States its first lead.
Eichel was awarded a penalty shot at the 7:55 mark of the second stanza, but was denied by Denmark's Mathias Seldrup. Team USA doubled its lead off the stick of Jared Fiegl (Parker, Colo.) at 11:47. Fiegl took a pass from Joe Wegwerth (Brewster, N.Y.) and ripped a shot that rode up Seldrup's stick, hit the netting under the crossbar and bounced back out of the net. Play resumed before video replay confirmed that it was a good goal. Eichel extended the U.S. lead to three goals at 16:34, chipping the puck up and over Seldrup's pads after a hard drive to the net from the left half-boards. Milano and Jack Glover (Golden Valley, Minn.) registered helpers on the play.
Glover pushed the U.S. lead to four goals just over two minutes into the final frame. Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill.) worked the puck around to Milano in the attacking zone before finding Glover standing inside the blue line. Glover launched a shot that found its way through traffic for the tally. Three minutes later, Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.) lit the lamp for Team USA, connecting with Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) to take a 5-0 lead. Eichel tallied his second of the game at 12:49, sending a backhand shot past Seldrup. Sixteen seconds later, Hitchcock found Kyle Connor (Shelby Township, Mich.) with a cross-ice pass, allowing Connor to hit the wide-open net. Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.) also assisted on the play and the United States won handily, 7-0.
Minney stopped all nine shots he saw to pick up the shut out for Team USA, while Seldrup turned aside 52 attempts for Denmark in the loss.
The U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team's final preliminary round game will come against host country Finland on Tuesday (April 22). Puck drop is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. EDT at Lappeenranta Arena.