It was a pretty good week for USA Hockey as the program took home three more gold medals in international play.
At the World Jr. A Challenge in Penticton, British Columbia, the US team, made up entirely of USHL players, looked to be cruising through the tournament with a 6-1 win over Canada East and a pair of 5-1 wins over Canada West and Sweden before hitting a bit of a speed bump against Canada East in the final game. Canada East built a 4-1 lead in the second period, before the US answered back with five straight goals to win the gold medal. This marks the third straight gold medal for the United States in this event, and gives a little more empirical evidence to just how strong of a league the USHL has become in recent years.
The NTDP U17 and U18 teams each competed in a Four Nations Cup over the weekend. The U-18s definitely had the tougher sledding. After losing to Sweden in the opening exhibition game, they rebounded with a tough one-goal win over Finland, a win over the Swiss, and were able to get their revenge on Sweden on the final day with a shootout victory, to go a perfect 3-0 in the tournament.
The U17s got their first test against international competition and passed with flying colors, dominating over the field with wins of 4-1 against Slovakia, 6-1 over Switzerland, 9-3 over Russia, and then 6-1 over Russia again in the championship game. They were extremely impressive here, and the team's defensemen are already drawing comparisons to the talented '92 NTDP defensemen, which was considered the strongest group the NTDP ever produced. This should definitely be a fun group to watch.