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Caufield tops Kessel's U18 goal scoring record

ORNSKOLDSVIK, Sweden -- Cole Caufield set the United States record for most goals scored in the IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship on Tuesday.

The highly-touted NHL draft prospect scored two goals in USA's 7-1 win over Latvia to run his tournament total to 11, surpassing Phil Kessel and Brett Sterling's previous record of nine goals. Caufield has appeared in just four games in the tournament. Kessel and Sterling scored nine in six and eight games, respectively.

"It's a pretty special feeling," Caufield told ESPN after the game. "Any time you get to break a record like that, it's special."

Caufield is tied with Nikita Kucherov and Ilya Kovalchuk for second for the overall single-tournament scoring record. Assuming Team USA advances to the medal games, he will have three more games to challenge Alex Ovechkin's single-tournament record of 14, which has stood since 2002.

"Right now, I'm pretty hot and I'd like to keep it that way," said Caufield. "The wins are more important. For sure, it would be special to get close to [Ovechkin] though."

The Stevens Point, Wisconsin, native has scored no fewer than two goals in each of his four games in the tournament.

In addition to setting the U.S. tournament goal scoring record, Caufield shattered the U.S. National Team Development program's single-season scoring record previously held by Auston Matthews at 55. The winger has 69 goals so far this season and 123 in his career, which is also the high water mark in the NTDP's history.

The 5-foot-7 sniper says he models his game after Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat. Caufield was recently ranked eighth among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting's final draft rankings. He was 10th on ESPN's midseason Top 50 for the 2019 NHL draft.

Also starring for Team USA at this tournament has been Jack Hughes, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL draft. Hughes is second on Team USA to Caufield's 13 points with 12 of his own. Having played in last year's tournament, Hughes has 24 career points in U18 World Championship play. Three more will give him the U.S. career scoring record at this tournament, currently held by Kessel who had 26 points over two tournaments. Ovechkin is the tournament's all-time leading scorer with 31 points in 14 games.

Team USA improved to 4-0 in tournament competition, finishing atop Group B in preliminary play. It will meet Finland in the quarterfinal Thursday.