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Pittsburgh Area Players Help Lead Team USA to Under-18 Hockey Championship

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins
Two Pittsburgh area players who spent time in the Pittsburgh Hornets Midget Major program helped the USA national team earn their second straight gold medal at the World Under-18 Hockey Championships in Belarus following a 3-1 victory over Sweden in Friday’s championship game.

Forward Brandon Saad (Gibsonia), defenseman Stephen Johns (Wampum) and the rest of the Americans avenged their only loss of the preliminary round (4-2) to pick up Team USA’s fifth gold medal at the Under-18 tournament.

The 6-foot-1, 196 pound Saad finished with three goals and three assists in seven games.

The 6-3, 215-pound Johns, serving as an alternate captain, had three assists and a plus-2 rating in seven games.

Johns is eligible for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in June and is rated by some scouts as a potential first-round NHL draft pick. Saad will be eligible for the 2011 draft.

Both Saad and Johns spent the season with the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 team in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Showing the increasing impact of Pittsburgh amateur hockey, three other Pittsburgh area players – J.T. Miller (Moon), John Gibson (Whitehall) and Barrett Keib (Upper St. Clair)  – were members of the USA national team that won the World Under-17 Challenge in December.

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