PIESTANY, Slovakia - Forwards Christian Isackson (West St. Paul, Minn.) and Sam Warning (St. Louis, Mo.) recorded two points each, but the U.S. Under-18 Select Team fell to Russia, 4-3, in the opening game for both teams at the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Piestany, Slovakia.
"We were very successful in the first 30 minutes of the game until we started taking penalties and committing turnovers," said Eric Rud, head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Select Team. "We need to duplicate our early success as we move through the tournament."
Mike Parks (O'Fallon, Mo.) gave Team USA a 1-0 lead at 10:19 of the opening period. After picking up a loose puck that Isackson chipped into his attacking zone, Warning sent a cross-ice pass toward the front of the net that Parks shot past Russian netminder Sergei Kostenko.
After Russia tied the game less than three minutes later, Warning gave the U.S. a 2-1 advantage with five minutes remaining in the period. Isackson collected his second assist after he delivered a pass to Warning, who beat a Russian defender wide and fired a shot off the far post and into the back of the net.
The U.S. extended its lead to 3-1 on Colten St. Clair's (Gilbert, Ariz.) breakaway goal at 4:17 of the second period. Brian Ferlin's (Jacksonville, Fla.) pass sent St. Clair in alone and Kevin Gravel (Kingsford, Mich.) also picked up an assist on the play.
Russia rallied for three unanswered goals in the second period and held on for a 4-3 victory.
The U.S. Under-18 Select Team plays Finland in its second game Wednesday (Aug. 12) at 8 a.m. EDT in Piestany, Slovakia.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)