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Nedeljkovic leads U.S. to 3-0 win at U-18 Worlds

Saturday, 04.19.2014 / 2:29 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  / 2014 NHL Draft blog

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2014 NHL Draft blog
Nedeljkovic leads U.S. to 3-0 win at U-18 Worlds

Alex Nedeljkovic stopped all 24 shots he faced and the United States rebounded from a loss in its opener of the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship with a 3-0 win Saturday against the Czech Republic at Lappeenranta Arena in Lappeenranta, Finland.

Auston Matthews, Sonny Milano and Kyle Connor scored for the U.S., which needed points after letting a third-period lead slip away in a 4-2 loss to Switzerland in its opener.

"We started off slow in the tournament, but that would be the game to lose if you're going to lose one," U.S. captain Louis Belpedio told the IIHF website. "We played our game and it was a good team game all around. Today [Nedeljkovic] really made a name for himself."

Nedeljkovic, who on Friday won the Ontario Hockey League's Goaltender of the Year award, credited his teammates for making it a relatively easy game. He faced only five shots in the third period to complete the shutout, though he did make a key stop on a David Kase breakaway.

"Anytime you got good defensemen in front of you it makes the job easier, and when you're not seeing any shots from the slot and just from the boards it is much easier," Nedeljkovic said.

Matthews scored 8:17 into the first period with the teams skating four aside, then Milano and Connor extended the lead in the opening five minutes of the second with goals 3:29 apart.

The U.S. returns to the ice Monday against winless Denmark.

Vitek Vanecek made 32 saves in the loss for the Czech Republic, which faces Finland on Monday.

Canada 5, Germany 2: Ryan Gropp broke a 2-2 deadlock with 5:36 remaining, triggering a late three-goal burst by Canada to pull away in a game at Imatra Arena in Imatra, Finland.

Travis Konecny scored with 3:42 left and Jared McCann iced the victory with 35 seconds to play as Canada remained unbeaten in two games. Jullio Billia stopped 21 shots.

Daniel Fiessinger made 37 saves to give Germany a chance at the upset. Captain Andreas Eder and Maximilian Kammerer scored 4:40 apart in the second period as the Germans erased two one-goal leads by Canada.

After Daniel Audette scored the only goal in the opening 20 minutes to put Canada on top, Eder struck 13:09 into the second. Conner Bleackley answered 80 seconds later to give the Canadians back the lead, but Kammerer knotted the score again at 17:49.

Canada's next game is Sunday against Slovakia, while Germany challenges Russia on Monday.