Tuesday, December 29, 2009

USA defeats Quebec in an exhibition game

Press Release

KAPUSKASING, Ont. – Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif.) notched a goal and three assists as the U.S. National Under-17 Team downed Canada-Quebec, 6-3, here tonight in its lone tune-up prior to the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Ron Rolston, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team collected his 200th career victory behind the bench at USA Hockey's National Team Development Program.

Grimaldi got Team USA off to a flying start after he tipped Barrett Kaib's (Upper St. Clair, Pa.) right-point shot into the upper-left corner of the net just 15 seconds into the game. Matt McNeely (Burnsville, Minn.) turned aside every shot he saw to preserve the 1-0 lead heading into the second.

Just 36 seconds into the middle frame and with the U.S. on the power play, Tyler Biggs (Cincinnati, Ohio) scored on a wraparound to double Team USA's advantage at 1:49. J.T. Miller (East Palestine, Ohio) made it 3-0 when his wrist shot slipped under netminder Robin Guesse's right arm at 5:10. Quebec's Phillipe Hudon snapped a shot past McNeely from between the hash marks at 5:10. The U.S. answered back when Adam Reid (Chino Hills, Calif.) stole the puck from a Quebec defender, skated to the net, side-stepped to the left side and slid the puck under Guesse at 6:13.

At the half-way point of the second period, John Gibson (Pittsburgh, Pa.) replaced McNeely in net for the U.S., while Guesse gave way to Jeffrey Noonan for Quebec. Jean-Francois Leblanc cut Quebec's deficit in half when he chipped in a rebound past Gibson at 13:05 for a power-play goal. Samuel Henley made it 4-3 for Quebec with just 4:00 to play in the period after converting on a rebound from the left side.

Team USA padded its lead with two goals late in the third period. Robbie Russo (Westmont, Ill.) one-timed a blast from the center point for a power-play marker at 14:12. Grimaldi hunted down the puck deep in the Quebec zone and fed Reid Boucher (Grand Ledge, Ill.) who lifted it past Noonan with just 2:25 remaining in regulation to ice the 6-3 victory.

The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, the premier event for the under-17 age group, runs from Dec. 29, 2009 - Jan. 4, 2010 in Timmins, Ont. In addition to the United States, the event includes five Canadian regional teams (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Pacific and West), as well as the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden.

Team USA opens tournament play tomorrow against Canada-Atlantic Tuesday at 2 p.m. EST in Timmins. A live webcast of the game will be available on FASTHockey.com. It is Team USA's only scheduled webcast for the tournament. For more information, visit FASTHockey.com

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at fourniern@students.nescom.edu)

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