Thursday, August 13, 2009

USA squeaks by Slovakia

Press Release

PIESTANY, Slovakia - The U.S. Under-18 Select Team garnered goals from seven different players, including Kevin Lind (Homer Glen, Ill.) in overtime, to edge Slovakia, 7-6, here today at the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament. Team USA finished round-robin competition with a 1-1-0-1 record, good for second in its group, and will play Sweden in the tournament's third-place game on Saturday, Aug. 15 at 7:30 a.m. EDT in Breclav, Czech Republic.

"The players showed some real resiliency to come back after falling behind in the third period," said Eric Rud, head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Select Team. "We're looking forward to playing Sweden and coming out with a strong victory."

Sam Warning (St. Louis, Mo.) scored the game's first goal 1:03 into the opening frame when he cut across the right circle and fired a shot that beat the Slovak goaltender over his right shoulder. Christian Isackson (West St. Paul, Minn.) and Lind collected assists on the play.

The U.S. extended its lead to 2-0 after Mike Parks (O'Fallon, Mo.), who was named Team USA's player of the game, connected on passes from Warning and Isackson at 12:08 of the first period.

Slovakia answered once in the first period and twice in the first five minutes of the second period to take a 3-2 lead before Charlie Coyle's (East Weymouth, Mass.) goal tied the game at 5:11 of the second period. Kevin Gravel (Kingsford, Mich.) sent a pass that split the defensemen that Coyle shot past the netminder. Kyle Rau (Eden Prairie, Minn.) also picked up an assist on the play.

Team USA netted two more goals in the second period. Nick Bjugstad (Coon Rapids, Minn.) walked out from behind the net and fired the puck top shelf at 6:53 of the period, and Connor Brickley's (Everett, Mass.) goal from Colten St. Clair (Gilbert, Ariz.) and Jamieson Oleksiak (Toronto, Ont.) with 9:22 remaining in the period gave the U.S. a 5-3 advantage.

Slovakia closed the gap to 5-4 with less than nine minutes remaining in the second period before scoring two power-play goals in the first five minutes of the third period to take the lead, 6-5.

The U.S. responded with its own power-play goal with 9:25 remaining in the third period. Bjugstad sent a pass to Ben Marshall (Grant, Minn.) whose shot went through a screen and into the back of the net from just inside the blue line.

In the extra frame, Lind scored on the lone shot for either team. St. Clair carried the puck into the attacking zone and cut across the circles, dropping the puck for Lind. He beat the goaltender between his legs to give Team USA the 7-6 victory.

U.S. netminder Zane Gothberg (Thief River Falls, Minn.) collected 34 saves in the winning effort.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at


Anonymous said...

Is the US class of '92 weak, or did they miss picking some of the strongest players?

Nathan Fournier said...

The 92 class is strong but for this tournament USA Hockey doesn't bring the NTDP players which is where most of the talent is. The players that are selected for this tournament all played at the Select 17's in July.

Anonymous said...

They delibertly miss some of the top players. It is more about getting a look at players who dont have a chance to play at such a high level.
Jared Knight is one player which I am sure could of helped as well as many others from the O,Dub or U.