It was a pretty spectacular weekend for USA Hockey on the international stage. Three different international teams were in action and they all kicked the ass of Europe and selected regions of Canada en route to three gold medals.
We'll start with the World Jr. A Challenge where a team of USHL all-stars took home the gold for a second year in a row. After losing their first game in a shootout to Canada East, they rolled past Belarus, Sweden, Russia, and then had a 2-1 victory over Canada West in the final. Matt Leitner scored the game-winner in the third period of the final. Shane Berschbach and Mac Bennett were named to the All-tournament team.
Four Nations Cups aren't usually as big of a deal because the other three teams aren't the strongest, but this past weekend's was an important one for the NTDP U-17 team. They hadn't won a game since the opening night of the season. After watching them get pounded regularly against older competition, I think a lot of people were curious to see how they'd stack up against teams their own age.
It turns out they did pretty well. They had three wins over Russia, Slovakia, and Switzerland. Rocco Grimaldi was named the tournament's best forward. The NTDP added three players from outside the program, including Seth Ambroz, which really seemed to help. I'd expect USA Hockey to do this a lot in upcoming international events with this group.
And finally, the NTDP U18 team also took home the gold in their Four Nations with a 3-2 final game victory over Switzerland. The US scoring seemed pretty balanced, with Matt Nieto leading the way with only four points.