DRESDEN, Germany – Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif.) scored twice, including the game-winning goal, and Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn.) recorded two points (1-1), as the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team topped Finland, 4-2, here tonight in its final tune-up prior to the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Men's Under-18 Championship, which runs from April 14-24, in Crimmitschau and Dresden, Germany.
Grimaldi gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead 8:20 into the first period, when he skated from the corner and fired a wrist shot from the bottom of the face-off circle that beat Finland netminder Samu Perhonen on the short side. Haggerty then gave Team USA a 2-0 edge with just 1:13 remaining in the period.
Midway through the second period, Finland cut the U.S. lead in half, but Team USA responded with a power-play goal at the 16:02 mark. J.T. Miller (East Palestine, Ohio) passed the puck off the sideboards to Grimaldi, who deked the goaltender and fired a shot into the top of the net to put the U.S. up 3-1 heading into the final frame.
After sending an extra attacker to the ice, Finland scored with just 30 seconds remaining in the regulation, but Cole Bardreau (Fairport, N.Y.) scored an empty-net goal to seal Team USA's 4-2 victory.
John Gibson (Pittsburgh, Pa.) made 16 saves for the U.S., while Perhoven stopped 22 shots in the loss for Finland.
The U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team opens tournament play on Thursday (April 14) against Switzerland at 7:30 p.m. local time (1:30 p.m. EDT), at Crimmitschau Arena.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)