Bittner now has two goals and an assist in three games.

It wasn't long ago Paul Bittner was scoring goals for the Crookston Pirates, and today he is on the verge of a gold medal with the U.S. Under-18 Select Team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in Breclax, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia.

Bittner scored a goal and added an assist Wednesday as Team USA defeated Slovakia 5-2 win Group B and move to the semifinals, which will be played Friday.

Bittner now has two goals and an assist in three games. He and Team USA will take on Czech Republic Friday at noon (CDT). The winner will face the winner of Canada and Russia for the championship Saturday.

The Americans jumped out to a 4-0 lead Wednesday with Bittner's goal kick-starting it all at the 13-minute mark when he banged in the puck off an assist from Nick Schmaltz.

Canada is the five-time defending champion. USA won the gold medal in 2003, it's only championship since the the tournament began in 1991.

See Monday's Times for a recap of the tournament. Follow me on Twitter for updates throughout the weekend.


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