By @StefanKubus –
Team USA began its IIHF Under-18 World Championship tournament with a strong showing against Sweden.
Cole Caufield led the U.S. with a hat trick in a 6-1 win over the Swedes, as the team opened preliminary play Thursday. University of Michigan commits John Beecher and Cam York each potted two points in the game, as well. Caufield, as expected, was named Team USA’s player of the game.
Despite outshooting Sweden 11-9 in the first period, it was the Swedes that opened the scoring at 14:16 of the frame, and took a 1-0 lead off the ice.
But from then on, it was all Team USA.
Caufield got his squad on the board 4:47 into the middle frame, firing home a nice 2-on-1 feed from Matthew Boldy. And just 39 seconds later, Beecher gave the U.S. a 2-1 lead and would later an assist in the game.
Case McCarthy struck a mere 21 seconds into the final frame with a shot from the point. Caufield went on to add two more goals early in the period, which included his power-play hat-trick goal at 5:17 to give the U.S. a commanding 5-1 lead.
Alex Turcotte capped off the scoring with just under two minutes remaining. Jack Hughes picked up his first assist, while Boldy added his third assist of the contest.
Team USA next faces Slovakia on Friday, Russia on Sunday and will finish preliminary play with a tilt against Latvia on Tuesday.