PIESTANY, Slovakia - Kevin Hayes (Dorchester, Mass.) scored twice and Charlie Coyle (East Weymouth, Mass.) potted the game-winner on a penalty shot with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation to lift the U.S. Under-18 Select Team to a 3-2 victory against Finland in the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament here today. Team USA will close out round-robin play tomorrow (Aug. 13) against Slovakia at 11:30 a.m. EDT.
"We had a much better effort today and the team was a lot more disciplined," said Eric Rud, head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Select Team. "Our ability to successfully kill off penalties was the catalyst for our late-game success."
While on a breakaway, Coyle was awarded a penalty shot after being slashed by Finland's Santeri Arousva with 6:32 remaining in the third period. On the goal, Coyle made a move to his backhand that brought Finnish netminder Sami Aittokakkio out of the net before cutting across to his forehand and slipping the puck into the open net.
After Finland scored the game's opening goal with two seconds remaining in the first period, Hayes scored his first of two goals at 5:52 of the second period. Hayes, along with linemates Austin Watson (Ypsilanti, Mich.) and Thomas Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.), cycled the puck in the corner before Watson passed the puck to the front of the net, where Hayes jammed it past the goaltender.
The trio gave Team USA a 2-1 advantage 8:51 later. Hayes received a pass from Watson in the neutral zone and sent a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that went off the near post and into the back of the net. Tynan also collected his second assist on the play.
Finland tied the game at 2-2 with a goal :55 into the third period before Coyle's marker gave the U.S. a 3-2 lead.
Goaltender Cody Campbell (Colorado Springs, Colo.) collected 20 saves in the U.S. victory.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com)