The USA Cadet Men’s National Team won the gold medal at the Darko Cukic Memorial Tournament in Serbia following a 9-6 victory over Croatia. The win capped a 7-0 run at the tournament that included victories over Serbia, Croatia and the Netherlands.
Team USA once again relied on defense and goaltending to hold Croatia to just one goal in the second half of the championship final. George Avakian lead all Team USA scorers with three goals, followed by Ethan Parrish and Tanner Pulice who added two each. Nolan Krutonog did the job in net turning aside 17 shots. Team USA and Croatia were even through the first quarter tied at 2-2 before Croatia took a 5-4 advantage at halftime. The United States took control in the second half holding Croatia scoreless in the third quarter as they rallied with two goals for a 6-5 lead. They surged ahead in the fourth outscoring Croatia 3-1 on the way to the 9-6 lead.
The gold medal victory improves upon a seventh place finish in 2015 and sixth place finish in 2014 at the same event.
USA 9 (2,2,2,3) G. Ovakian 3, E. Parrish 2, T. Pulice 2, G. Ocasio 1, N. Tierney 1
CROATIA 6 (2,3,0,1)
6×5 – USA – 2/6 CRO – 3/7
Saves – Krutonog 17
Penalties – USA – 1/1 , CRO – 0/0