PIESTANY, Slovakia - Lukas Sutter (Whitefish, Mont.) notched two goals and Connor Murphy (Dublin, Ohio) scored the game-winning goal in overtime, as the U.S. Under-18 Select Team defeated Sweden, 5-4, here today in the semifinal round of the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. With the victory, Team USA will face Canada in the championship game tomorrow (Aug. 14) at 9:00 a.m. EDT in Piestany, Slovakia.
"I thought we had a strong start and played very well," said Tim Army, head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Select Team. "We really settled into our game and did the things that we needed to reach the championship game."
Sweden took an early 2-0 lead, but Sutter got Team USA on the board just under two minutes into the second period to cut the deficit in half. Skating into the attacking zone on a two-on-one rush, Cason Hohmann (Plymouth, Mich.) slid a pass through the Swedish defenseman to Sutter, who fired a one-timer past Sweden goaltender Marcus Due-Boje.
After Sweden regained a two-goal advantage at the 4:25 mark of the second, the U.S. answered yet again with a goal just one minute later. Tanner Sorenson (Anchorage, Alaska) knocked in a rebound in front of the net, after shots by Justin Selman (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) and Theo Di Pauli (Woodridge, Ill.) were turned aside.
Team USA then rallied to score two second-period power-play goals. Sutter netted his second goal of the game midway through the frame and Seth Ambroz (New Prague, Minn.) scored at the 15:55 mark to give the U.S. a 4-3 advantage heading into the third. Ambroz connected with John Gaudreau's (Carney's Point, N.J.) pass in the slot for a one-timer.
Sweden scored the lone third-period goal to send the game into overtime. But just 41 seconds into the extra frame, Team USA netted the game-winner. After carrying the puck the length of the ice, Murphy sent a pass to Ambroz and skated to the net. Ambroz then chipped the puck back to Murphy, who wrapped around the goal and poked the puck behind Due-Boje for the score.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)