Two Pittsburgh area players are playing key roles for the USA national team that defeated Finland, 5-0, Wednesday in the semifinals for the World Under-18 Championships in Belarus.
Forward Brandon Saad (Gibsonia, Pa.) and defenseman Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.) will try to help the U.S. win its second straight gold medal in Friday’s championship game against the Sweden-Russia semifinal winner at noon.
The 6-1, 196-pound Saad is the Americans’ third leading scorer with three goals and three assists in six games while posting a plus-6 rating. Saad had an assist in the win over Finland.
The 6-3, 215-pound Johns, serving as an alternate captain, has three assists in six games and shares the team lead with 10 penalty minutes. Johns is eligible for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and is rated by some scouts as a potential first round NHL draft pick.
The U.S. is now 5-1 overall in the tournament, with dominating wins over Canada (5-0), Czech Republic (6-0), Switzerland (5-1) and Finland (5-1). The American’s only loss in round-robin play was to Sweden (4-2).
Friday's championship game can be viewed via a live stream by clicking on the following link: http://usahockey.fasthockey.com/login.php
Log on to www.usahockey.com
to follow Johns, Saad and the rest of Team USA.