CRIMMITSCHAU, Germany – Reid Boucher (Grand Ledge, Mich.) netted the game-winning goal and John Gibson (Pittsburgh, Pa.) made 30 saves, as the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team edged Switzerland, 2-1, here tonight in its opening game of the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Men's U18 Championship.
"Tonight we found a way to win a very difficult game," said Ron Rolston, head coach of the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team. "Every game we play will be a battle, so getting three points tonight was a good start."
2011 sui inside
Cole Bardreau and Team USA notched a victory in the tournament opener.
More photos from the game
Team USA opened the scoring early in the first period when Zac Larraza (Scottsdale, Ariz.) skated down the left side and backhanded a pass to Dan Carlson (Corcoran, Minn.). Spinning to avoid the defender, Carlson ripped a shot on goal that was blocked away by Swiss goaltender Luca Boltshauser. Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn.) then found the rebound and knocked the puck in to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.
Switzerland responded 1:11 into the second period when a second attempt shot beat Gibson to tie the score.
Entering the third stanza knotted at one goal each, Team USA struck when J.T. Miller (East Palestine, Ohio) passed the puck to Boucher from behind the net. Boucher then one-timed the feed for the eventual game-winner. Robbie Russo (Westmont, Ill.) also collected an assist on the play. Despite Switzerland pulling its netminder in an attempt to tie the game, the U.S. held on for the 2-1 victory.
The U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team will next face Slovakia tomorrow (April 15) at 3:30 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. EDT), at Crimmitschau Arena. The game will be streamed live on FASTHockey.com.
NOTES: John Gibson was named Team USA's Player of the Game ... With an assist tonight, Robbie Russo tied National Team Development Program alum, Cam Fowler (Farmington Hills, Mich./2007-09) for tenth in all-time career points by a defenseman
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