For the third straight year, the United States of America walked out of the IIHF World U18 Championships with the gold medal. It took a pair of OT wins to do it, beating Canada in the semifinals thanks to a Tyler Biggs goal, and getting the golden goal from the stick of blueliner Connor Murphy on a powerplay against Sweden. It was the USA's sixth overall title at the U18 level wince the tournament was added to the IIHF's schedule in 1999. Russia is second in overall titles with three, while Canada and Finland have two each.
Russia won the bronze medal thanks to a 6-4 win over Canada. OHL rookie sensation Nail Yakupov scored a hat trick against Canada, as Canada decided to mix things up by starting Andrew D'Agostini ahead of Malcolm Subban in goal. Canada's 4th place finish was well-earned: they lost to each of the medallists once in the tournament.
The championship level of the 2012 U18s will take place in Switzerland, though a host city has yet to be determined. They'll have their work cut out for them to top what Germany managed this year. I'll have more to recap on the U18s soon, but here is the final standings for first the top 10 nations this year, and then for the rest of the world after the jump:
I've assigned each team to their assumed division grouping for next year, as per what is expected to be agreed upon by the various national federations at meetings in Bratislava over the next month (in conjunction with the IIHF World Championships). I'll also have a new Junior Hockey World Ranking done up in the next few days based on the 2011 results of the U20 and U18 programs.