COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.–The Czech Republic scored early and late in the first period, then twice more in the second en route to a 7-3 win over the United States Under-18 Men’s Select Team in the final pool-play game at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.
The setback dropped Team USA (1-2) into a third-place finish in Group A, setting up a meeting with Finland (1-2) in Friday’s fifth-place game.
The U.S. surrendered a power-play goal just 34 seconds into Wednesday’s contest and never fully recovered despite 28 saves from goaltender Isaiah Saville (Anchorage, Alaska).
Trailing 3-0 late in the second period, Ryan Savage (Troy, Mich.) ignited a comeback bid for Team USA with his first goal of the tournament, but the Czechs reestablished their three-goal lead two minutes later. Undeterred, the U.S. again clawed closer with a goal from Jack Drury (Winnetka, Ill.) less than a minute into the third period, but another power-play goal from the Czechs eight minutes later put the game out of reach.
The Czech Republic struck twice more before Team USA’s Blake McLaughlin (Grand Rapids, Minn.) closed the scoring with a power-play redirection of a long wrist shot from Gavin Hain (Grand Rapids, Minn.), his high school hockey linemate.
Following a practice day tomorrow, Team USA will look to close its tournament on a winning note Friday against Finland at 3:30 p.m. local time / 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time in Breclav, Czech Republic. That game will be live streamed at hokejkatv.cz.
Follow the U.S. Under-18 Men’s Select Team every step of the way at TeamUSA.USAHockey.com.
Notes: Forward Jack Randl (Carpentersville, Ill.) assisted on Drury’s third-period goal and was named U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA was 1 for 5 on the power play; the Czech Republic was 3 for 7 … Final shots on goal were 35-28 in favor of the Czech Republic.