U.S. Under-18 Team Wins Gold

The 2003 United States Under-18 Select Team claimed its first-ever championship at the Under-18 Junior World Cup, defeating Russia 3-2 in the gold medal game. Forward Eric Lampe of Madison, Wis., scored two goals, including the game winner, as Team USA completed the tournament with a perfect 5-0 record.

Russia began the scoring in the first period with a pair of power-play goals, but the U.S. began the comeback, cutting it to 2-1 at 17:32 of the first period on Lampe’s first of the game.

Midway through the second period, Team USA tied the score with its first shorthanded goal of the tournament. Christopher Mueller received a long pass from Notre Dame recruit Luke Lucyk, and deked the Russian goaltender for a breakaway goal.

The U.S. took the lead for good 2:30 into the final period. Lampe received a pass from the corner by forward Jeffrey Prough and wristed a shot over the netminder’s blocker.

Goaltender Cory Schneider, verbally committed to Boston College in 2005, stopped 32 shots, including all 13 he faced in the third period, to earn the victory. Lampe was named the Player of the Game, while Ian Keserich was named the best goaltender at the 2003 Under-18 Junior World Cup.

The U.S. Under-18 Select Team opened the tournament on Monday with a 5-2 victory over Sweden. Following a 3-2 win against Russia on Tuesday, Team USA completed Group B play on Wednesday by defeating host Slovakia, 5-1. In the Semifinal Round on Friday, the U.S. edged seven-time defending champion Canada in overtime, 4-3.

Forward Michael Taylor led the U.S. in scoring during the tournament with two goals and five assists. Other top scorers for Team USA included forward Tyler Haskins with three goals and two assists; forward Evan Rankin with three goals and one assist; Jeffrey Prough with two goals and a pair of assists; and forward Gerald Pollastrone with a goal and three assists.

This is the second gold medal for this age group in international competition. The 2002 U.S. Under-17 Select Team, which included seven members of the 2003 U.S. Under-18 Select Team, won the championship at the Five Nations Tournament last summer in Slovakia.