Nicolas Kerdiles scored a pair of goals and goalie Jared Rutledge made 29 saves when the U.S. National Under-18 Team scored a 6-2 victory over Switzerland to earn its fourth consecutive U18 Four Nations Tournament title on Sunday in Monthey, Switzerland.
"I am extremely proud of how our guys played together as a team," said U.S. coach Danton Cole
. "Everything came together at the right time and we hope to build off these wins as we move forward with our upcoming schedule."
Kerdiles, who is projected to be a highly coveted prospect for the 2012 Draft in Pittsburgh, topped all players in the three-game tournament with 5 goals and 5 points. U.S. defenseman Connor Carrick led all defenders in the tournament with 3 points. With the victory, the U.S. has now captured the tournament title the past four years.
Team USA opened a 3-0 lead in the first period on goals by Connor Carrick at 6:25, Matthew Lane at 13:19 and Brendan Silk with just 13 seconds left in the opening 20 minutes.
Switzerland pulled within 3-1 to open the second before Kerdiles scored his first of the game. Riley Barber, who led all skaters in the tournament with a plus-5 rating, then connected to extend the lead to 5-1 before Kerdiles scored his second of the game at 4:49 of the third.
The U.S. U18 Team returns to action on Friday against the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League at 7 p.m. EST at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube in Michigan.