After dropping their opener at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship, Team USA has strung together three straight wins to finish the preliminary round as the top team in Group B. This could have the U.S. on a collision course with Canada in the gold medal game, which would be a rematch of last year's U18 finale.
One player who has been a significant contributor to the USA's success at this tournament is forward Auston Matthews. The 16-year-old has chipped in two goals and one assist in the four preliminary round games while posting a +4 rating.
Matthews has taken the unlikely route of playing for the Arizona Bobcats' U16 team in 2012-13 to playing for the U.S. NTDP during the 2013-14 season. The move appears to have been a wise one as Matthews has been an offensive force for the various NTDP-related teams that he has competed for this season.
Given his late '97 birthdate (by two days), Matthews is not eligible for the NHL Draft until 2016, so he'll have plenty of time to hone his craft while possibly deveoping into a top prospect for that draft.
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