Team USA returned to the top of the U18 hockey heap after defeating the Czech Republic, 5-2, to win gold at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship in Lappeenranta, Finland. The U.S. had a string of four consecutive gold medal wins at this tournament ended by Canada at the 2013 event.
This year's championship gives the U.S. eight U18 gold medals since this tournament began in 1999, five more than Russia, who failed to medal at this year's tournament.
One of the quiet contributors for the USA at this tournament was defenseman Ryan Collins. The Minneapolis, MN native's stock in trade is defensive play, which was on display at this U18. But he also chipped in a couple of assists to the cause, including a helper on a goal by Auston Matthews in the gold medal game.
Like nearly all of the players on this gold medal squad, Collins competed for the U.S. NTDP squad that competed in the USHL this past season. In 26 games, Collins finished with two assists and a +12 rating.
Collins spoke with Hockey's Future following his country's U18 gold medal win, a conversation that can be viewed in this HF video.
Follow Chapin Landvogt on Twitter via @Csomichapin