WOODRIDGE, Ill. - Brady Skjei (Lakeville, Minn.) and Cameron Darcy (South Boston, Mass.) each recorded a goal and an assist and Skjei notched the game-winner, as the U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated Russia, 6-1, to claim its second consecutive 2010 Under-17 Four Nations Cup title here tonight at Seven Bridges Ice Arena.
"I thought the team played an excellent game tonight," said Danton Cole, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team. "We knew Russia was going to come out strong after last night, but our team played a great brand of hockey and was rewarded with the championship."
Team USA opened the scoring at the midway point of the first period with two goals just 38 seconds apart. Kyle Osterberg (Lakeville, Minn.) and Nicolas Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif.) converted on a turnover and fed the puck to Ryan Hartman (West Dundee, Ill.), who wristed the puck past Russia goaltender Andrey Vasilevskiy at the 10:08 mark. On the following shift, Osterberg sent a pass to Skjei, who found the back of the net to give the U.S. a two-goal lead.
Five minutes later, Seth Jones (Plano, Texas) scored a four-on-three power-play goal to put Team USA up, 3-0. Thomas Di Pauli (Woodridge, Ill.) won the faceoff back to Skjei, who sent the puck over to Jones at the left point. Jones then fired a slap shot that sailed past Vasilevskiy.
Russia scored the lone second-period goal, but the U.S. notched three goals in the final frame to complete the 6-1 victory. Miles Koules (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Henrik Samuelsson (Scottsdale, Ariz.) scored two goals 1:29 apart to increase Team USA's lead to 5-1 in the first five minutes of the period.
With 40 seconds left in regulation, U.S. goaltender Collin Olson (Apple Valley, Minn.) passed the puck up to Darcy as he was skating through the neutral zone. Darcy then stickhandled around the Russia defense and fired a wrist shot that beat Vasilevskiy high on the blocker side.
Olson made 33 saves for Team USA in the win, while Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots for Russia in the loss.
NOTES: The U.S. went 1-for-8 on the power play, while Russia was 1-for-7 with the man-advantage ... Miles Koules led Team USA at the tournament with seven points (5-2) in four games, while Brady Skjei finished the tournament with five points (2-3).
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)