Andrew Copp, Patrick Sieloff bring gold medals to Ann Arbor with USA Hockey's U-18 World Championship
Jana Chytilova | HHOF-IIHF Images
Time passes and players get older and move on, but USA Hockey's under-18 national team has been unaffected when it comes to the World Championships. Time may not stand still, but the results do.
With a 7-0 win over Sweden on Sunday in the Czech Republic, the U.S. took home the gold medal for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year.
“We worked hard, played a very disciplined game and never let up,” U.S. coach Danton Cole said. “These players deserve to call themselves champions.”
While all but one of the players on the team spent the last season in Ann Arbor playing in the National Team Development Program based at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube, their medals will be shuttled out to the hometowns of the players to be shown off to family and friends.
Two, though, will stay in Ann Arbor.
“When you hear that anthem being played after the game, there is no better feeling,” Copp said. “It makes everything we’ve gone through as a team worth it. I’m really excited to take my gold medal home to Ann Arbor.”
As the three-time defending champions, the U.S. came into the World Championships as the prohibitive favorite. But almost as soon as they got to the Czech Republic, they gave others a glimmer of hope.
In an exhibition game three days before the tournament started, the U.S. lost to Sweden, 3-2. Sweden was also victorious the last time the two met, in the Five Nation Tournament in February.
But once the games started counting, the U.S. left no doubt about their status. In six tournament games, it outscored opponents 27-4.
In the gold medal game, a rematch against Sweden, the U.S. didn’t score until late in the first period. With an assist from Copp, Thomas Di Pauli got the train rolling. Once got going, it never stopped as the U.S. went on to score three goals in each of the final two periods.
The assist was Copp’s only point of the tournament. Sieloff didn’t record a point in the six games but finished with a +3 plus/minus rating. And, of course, a gold medal.
“Being over here (Czech Republic) with these 22 guys was an experience I’ll never forget,” Sieloff said. “Winning a gold medal while representing my country makes it even sweeter. It started at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube two years ago with the National Team Development Program, and it ended with a gold medal on the other side of the world.”
There were also a number of Michigan recruits on team. Goalie Jared Rutledge had a shutout in the round robin round against Denmark, the only tournament game he played in.
Forward J.T. Compher scored Team U.S.A.’s third goal in the gold medal game, completing the tournament with two goals and three assists.
Defenseman Jacob Trouba finished with three points and a +5 rating.
Defenseman Connor Carrick added the U.S.’s sixth goal in the final game. He finished with two goals and two assists to go along with a +4 rating.
Rutledge, Trouba and Carrick are expected to be at Michigan in the fall. Compher, still 17, will play one more year in the National Team Development program before heading to the Wolverines.
Michael Florek covers sports for AnnArbor.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.