Another year has come and gone for the U.S. National Team Development Program (NTDP) that has once again seen its work culminate in another gold medal at the U18 World Championship, this time around in Lappeenranta, Finland.
The state of Michigan may be famous for being the birthplace of the automotive industry, but aside from cars, the state also produces many of the top hockey players in the world. When the Detroit Red Wings began play in 1926, it helped nudge a budding grassroots hockey movement in the right direction.
Despite failing to medal at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship, host team Finland was received well by the hometown fans in Lappeenranta and Imatra. Many of Finland’s players stood out positively in their five games, with blueliners Sami Niku and Jarkko Parikka having been very noticeable on the blueline.
After opening a 3-1 lead in the first period, Team USA cruised to their fifth gold medal in the past six years at the 2014 edition of the IIHF U18 World Championship. Forward Auston Matthews was the scoring hero for the U.S. as he scored two goals and added an assist in the win over the Czech Republic.