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US Select 18s Beat Czech Republic to Advance to Gold Medal Game at Ivan Hlinka Tournament

The US won a tight semifinal match against the Czech Republic, and will now meet Canada to play for the tournament championship.

Martin Rose

A third period goal by Wisconsin recruit Ryan Wagner gave the United States a third period lead, and an empty-net goal by Michigan State recruit Cody Milan sealed a 5-3 semifinal victory over the Czech Republic at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament. The win puts the US in the championship game tomorrow, where they will meet tournament favorite Canada. The Canadians defeated Russia 3-1 in the other semifinal earlier in the day.

After falling behind 1-0 in the first period, a goal by Team USA's Jake Wahlin(UMass recruit), assisted by Cody Milan tied the game. Nick Schmaltz(North Dakota recruit) gave the US the lead after one period on a goal assisted Jack Dougherty. The Czech Republic answered back early in the second period, and Schmaltz gave the US the lead again with his second goal, continuing a dazzling tournament for the potential first round NHL draft pick next year. The Czech Republic answered back one last time, forcing a 3-3 tie heading into the third period.

The deciding goal came with 11:14 remaining in the third period, when Wagner was able to get behind the Czech defense and stickhandle around the Czech goalie to score. The Czechs pressed late, but were unable to net the tying goal, and Milan iced the game with an empty-netter.

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