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U18 Championships

The World U18 Championships wrapped up yesterday, and the US fell just short of winning the gold.

The Russians knocked off the US 6-5 to capture the gold. It was the second time the US had lost to the Russians in the tournament. In both games, the US had a pretty big advantage in shots on goal, but couldn't capitalize.

The US was coming off a huge shootout win over Canada in the semifinals to avenge their earlier shootout loss to the Canadians in the preliminary round. Of course, Canada's loss brought about cries from north of the border about Canada not sending their best team, which is true, since many top players were playing in CHL playoffs rather than this tournament. The same will probably be said by US fans this August, when Canada's top U18 team beats the US team, which doesn't pick NTDP players. Really, neither side pits their best against each other until the U20 World Junior Championships, and it's tough to deny the success that Canada has had there.

The top players for the US in the tournament looked like the line of James van Riemsdyk(UNH), Colin Wilson(BU), and Jordan Schroeder(MN). Those three could all be top ten picks in the next three NHL drafts, respectively. Along with Schroeder, the other underager on the team, Vinny Saponari also had a nice tournament. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk seemed to play very well, and may have improved his draft stock.