PIESTANY, Slovakia – Zac Larraza (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Cole Bardreau (Fairport, N.Y.) each tallied for the U.S. National Under-17 Team, but it was not enough as it fell to Switzerland, 5-2, here today in the opening game of the 2010 Vlad Dzurilla Under-18 Tournament.
Dominic Lammer put Switzerland ahead, 1-0, with an unassisted goal 5:20 into the game. Eric Arnold doubled Switzerland's advantage after converting on a Samuel Walser feed at 15:36. Netminder Matt McNeely (Burnsville, Minn.) turned aside 14 shots to keep Team USA within striking distance.
In the second stanza, Larraza got Team USA on the board at 10:12 when he put a shot past netminder Lucas Meili. Robbie Russo (Westmont, Ill.) and J.T. Miller (East Palestine, Ohio) picked up assists on the play. With just 27 seconds remaining in the middle period, Gregory Hofmann regained the two-goal advantage over the U.S.
Switzerland made it 4-1 at 8:30 of the final frame when Joel Vermin beat McNeely for a power-play goal. With just 1:15 to play in regulation, Bardreau tallied an unassisted marker to bring Team USA within two goals, but that was the last time the U.S. bested Meili. Gaeten Haas potted an empty-net goal with just 16 seconds remaining in regulation to account for the 5-2 final.
McNeely turned aside 38 total shots in the game.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team will take on Germany Friday at 2 p.m. (8 a.m. EST) in Piestany.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com)