JARVENPAA, Finland - Ten players recorded at least one point, as the U.S. National Under-17 Team topped the Czech Republic, 8-2, at the 2013 Five Nations Tournament here today at Jarvenpaa Arena. With the win, Team USA's record improves to 1-0-1-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L).
"We played a complete game today," said Danton Cole, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team. "The defense limited their chances and our offense made the most of its opportunities. We'll need a similar effort tomorrow to be successful."
Team USA took an early lead at 3:16 of the first frame when Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.) scored. Ryan MacInnis (St. Louis, Mo.) collected the lone assist on the tally. Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) stopped all eight shots he faced and the U.S. enjoyed a 1-0 advantage heading into intermission.
Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) struck on the power play just 13 seconds into the second stanza. Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.) collected the only helper on the play. The Czechs answered to cut the U.S. lead in half at 3:50. Milano set up Jack Glover (Golden Valley, Minn.) for the next Team USA marker at 5:13. Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) joined the scoring parade at 13:43 to give the Americans a 4-1 advantage. Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.) and Nolan Stevens (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) registered assists on the goal.
The Americans kept firing and Seamus Malone (Naperville, Ill.) lit the lamp 45 seconds into the third period. Hitchcock earned the assist. Eichel potted back-to-back goals 39 seconds apart to extend the U.S. lead, 7-1. Ryan Collins (Bloomington, Minn.) collected the assist on the goal at 7:18, while Milano earned his third assist on the score at 7:57. The Czechs netted a power-play tally at 16:35 to make it 7-2, but the U.S. lead proved insurmountable. Larkin added a late goal at 17:51 with an assist to Stevens and Team USA cruised to an 8-2 victory.
Minney made 13 saves for the Americans in the win, while Vitek Vanecek stopped 31 shots in the loss for the Czech Republic.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team concludes tournament play tomorrow (Feb. 10) versus Finland. Game time is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. EST at Jarvenpaa Arena.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)