IIHF UA18 Game Recap: Team USA vs. Team Latvia | 04/28/2024

Photo Credit: IIHF

Team USA was looking to extend their undefeated streak in the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. Team USA had another fast and powerful start yesterday when they faced Team Norway, beating them in regulation by a score of 8-2. Some standout performances included that of Cole Eiserman, who scored two goals in the contest. James Hagens would earn three points yesterday with one goal and two assists to his credit. Today, Team USA goes up against Team Latvia. The teams met up last year, and Team USA came away with a 7-1 win.


TEAM USA – Nicholas Kempf

TEAM LAT – Mikus Vecanags

Period 1

Team USA had another powerful start today as they faced Team Latvia. Cole Hutson got the Americans on the board quickly striking the net with a laser of a shot at just twenty-six seconds into the period. He was assisted by James Hagens. Team USA leads early 1-0.

Later, at 5:34 Team USA hits twine once more as Trevor Connelly slides the puck through the middle and finds the back of the net over the glove of Vecanags. Team USA brings the score up 2-0, with E.J. Emery getting the assist.

After Team Latvia is called for Too Many Men, Team USA goes on the Powerplay. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Teddy Stiga seized the puck and was assisted by Trevor Connelly and Cole Hutson on the play that found its way home to the back of the net for Team USA. The Americans now lead Team Latvia 3-0 as we close the opening period.

Shots on Goal:

USA – 10

LAT – 15

Period 2

At 3:19 in the second period, Team Latvia was penalized for interference, giving Team USA a powerplay opportunity. However, Latvia successfully defended against the powerplay, preventing any scoring chances for the Americans. Team USA swiftly secured possession of the puck, resulting in the fourth goal for the Americans, extending their lead over Latvia to 4-0 (7:55). L.J. Mooney would put that fourth goal in for Team US, with Connelly setting up the play nicely with Emery getting in on the helper. Cole Eiserman would find the net again but after the coach’s challenge by Team Latvia, the goal was overturned.

Latvia’s Oskars Briedis is called for Kneeing and sends Team USA on the Powerplay. Later, Cole Eiserman, undeterred, would ultimately get in on the scoring action and take advantage, netting Team USA’s fifth goal at 15:35 into the frame. Team USA now leads Latvia by a score of 5-0. Stiga and Logan Hensler would each be credited with an assist on the goal.

Team USA’s shutout bid would end, however, as Latvia’s Daniels Serkins would put his team on the scoreboard late in the period, bringing the score to 5-1 (18:53). Maksims Haritoncevs and Harijs Cjunskis are each credited with the assist.

We closed out the period with Team USA leading Team Latvia, 5-1.

Shots on Goal:

USA – 14

LAT – 6

Period 3

Early in the third, it would be Team Latvia with a Powerplay advantage as Team USA’s Dakoda Rheaume-Mulle is called for hooking. Team USA then switched out goaltenders pulling Kempf, and having Caleb Heil now minding their net. Later, Latvia’s Antons Macijevkis is called for interference and now Team USA has the man advantage.

At 8:38, James Hagens gets his chance and finesses his way past the netminder for Latvia, putting Team USA ahead of Team Latvia by a score of 6-1. He was assisted by Max Plante and Eiserman. Latvia switched out their goalie, and in the net was Dilans Birkans.

Team USA would still beat Latvia to the net, however, with Connelly finding his way past Birkans and solidly putting the Americans ahead with a commanding score of 7-1 (12:14). He was assisted by Hagens and Brodie Ziemer.

The final score in regulation is 7-1, Team USA over Team Latvia.

Shots on Goal:

USA – 24

LAT – 21

With that, Team USA effectively shuts the door on Team Latvia, remaining undefeated as they head into their game against Finland on Tuesday, April 30th. Trevor Connelly put up four points in the game, earning two goals and two assists. James Hagens and Teddy Stiga tallied one goal and two assists, earning them both three points.

Latvia’s defeat today pushed their record to 1-2, but they still hold the third position in Group A. The USA now shares the top spot with Finland before their upcoming match.

Karen Zehner

Credentialed Beat Writer covering the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. Diving into the world of slap shots, penalty kills, and the game we love. [@RunwithK] on socials.

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