The trophy case at USA Hockey has been getting awfully full in the last year.
Behind lock-down goaltending from Jack Campbell and a goal and an assist from Rocco Grimaldi, the U.S. won its second consecutive IIHF World Under-18 Championship gold medal Friday with a 3-1 win against Sweden in Belarus.
Campbell, NHL Central Scouting's No. 2-rated North American goaltender for the 2010 Entry Draft, stopped 33 of 34 shots and was named the tournament's top goalie.
"This has been one of the neatest experiences I've had as a coach and one of the better groups I've ever had the chance to work with," U.S. coach Kurt Kleinendorst told USA Hockey's Web site. "I had heard so many things about (USA Hockey's National Team Development Program) prior, with regard to how special it was and how good this group was to work with. I think winning the gold medal is just the perfect ending to a great season."
Luke Moffat and Justin Faulk also scored for the U.S., which now must be considered among the elite nations in international hockey. Since capturing the 2009 U-18 title, USA Hockey won gold medals at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and World Junior Championship in January; silver medals for its men's and women's national teams at the Winter Olympics in February; and now a second consecutive gold at the U-18 level.
Campbell and Jason Zucker, who had 4 goals and 7 points, are the only players to play for both U-18 teams and the World Juniors. Zucker is No. 51 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the June draft.
Grimaldi, who led the team with 8 assists and was tied for the scoring lead with 10 points, got the U.S. going early by assisting on Moffat's goal just 2:10 into the game. Grimaldi passed to Derek Forbort, and Moffat tipped Forbort's shot past Swedish goalie Johan Gustafsson.
Faulk made it 2-0 at 7:31 of the second when he converted an Austin Czarnik pass. Later in the period Grimaldi scored a power-play goal when he re-directed Adam Clendening's pass inside the right post at 13:47.
Clendening tied for the team scoring lead with 10 points, and he led all defensemen in the tournament in goals (3), assists (7) and points (10), and was joined Campbell on the tournament all-star team. Clendening and Forbort -- No. 9 on Central Scouting's final ranking for the 2010 draft (No. 4 among defensemen) tied for the tournament lead with plus-9 ratings.
Clendening, like Grimaldi, aren't draft-eligible until 2011.
Ludvig Rensfeldt, the Central Scouting's fifth-ranked European skater for June's draft, scored Sweden's lone goal 6:54 into the third period. That goal snapped a remarkable shutout streak of 274:12 for Campbell. He had posted three straight shutouts -- against Canada in the preliminary round, the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals and Finland in the semifinals. Prior to Rensfeldt's goal, Campbell hadn't allowed a puck to get past him since the first period of the Americans' second game of the tournament against Switzerland.
Johan Larsson, who scored twice against the U.S. in Sweden's 4-2 opening-day win and finished second in the tournament in scoring with 14 points in six games, was held to just four shots.
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