Photo by Hickling Images
USHL alumni had an impressive World Junior Championship, with players on the silver medal and bronze medal teams.
Current Tri-City Storm goaltender Filip Larsson collected a silver medal after Team Sweden fell to Team Canada 3-1 in the gold medal game. The Detroit Red Wings prospect appeared in one contest for Sweden, stopping 20 of 22 shots.
Team USA won bronze, their third medal in three years, after defeating Team Czech Republic 9-3. It is the first time in team history that Team USA has won three medals in three years, after collecting two bronze medals (2016, 2018) and a gold medal (2017). 21 of 23 Team USA players are USHL alumni.
It was also a banner year for individual milestones. Casey Mittelstadt (Green Bay Gamblers) was named best forward as voted by tournament directors. The Buffalo Sabres prospect was also voted World Juniors MVP by media members. It was the first time that an American won MVP since John Gibson (Team USA) in 2013.
Two of the top-three tournament scorers were USHL alumni, with Mittelstadt scoring 11 points (4G, 7A) in seven games. New York Islanders prospect Kieffer Bellows (Sioux Falls Stampede/Team USA) was tied for third in tournament scoring with 10 points (9G, 1A) in seven games. Bellows set a new American World Junior Championship record with nine goals, surpassing former NHL player Jeremy Roenick.
2018 NHL Draft prospect Brady Tkachuk (Team USA), New Jersey Devils prospect Joey Anderson (Team USA) and potential 2018 NHL Draft prospect Samuel Bucek (Chicago Steel) also finished in the top-20 for World Juniors scoring.
Bellows led all players with nine goals. Boston Bruins prospect Trent Frederic (Team USA), Edmonton Oilers prospect Aapeli Rasanen (Sioux City Musketeers), Anderson, Mittelstadt and Bucek all appeared in the top-20 for goals scored.
Mittelstadt finished second in tournament assist leaders with seven in seven games. Tkachuk, 2018 NHL Draft prospect Andrei Svechnikov (Muskegon Lumberjacks), Nashville Predators prospect Eeli Tolvanen (Sioux City Musketeers), Bucek and Calgary Flames prospect Adam Fox (Team USA) all finished in top-20 for assists.
Rasanen led all players in faceoff winning percentage. San Jose Sharks prospect Josh Norris (Team USA), Frederic and Montreal Canadiens prospect Ryan Poehling (Lincoln Stars) finished in top-20 for faceoff percentage.
Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Joseph Woll (Team USA) finished sixth in goaltending leaders, with San Jose Sharks prospect Josef Korenar (Lincoln Stars) finished in the top-10 as well.
Fox finished fourth in scoring by defensemen. Winnipeg Jets prospect Dylan Samberg (Waterloo Black Hawks), 2018 NHL Draft prospect Scott Perunovich (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) and 2018 NHL Draft prospect Quinn Hughes (Team USA) finished in the top-20 for defensemen scoring.
USA Hockey will be seeking its fourth consecutive medal next year at the 2019 World Junior Championship in Vancouver, BC.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 16th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2017-18. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in five consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.