TURKU, Finland - Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) notched two goals and added one assist, as the U.S. National Under-18 Team topped Switzerland, 6-2, here today at Kupittaa Arena. With the win, Team USA finished with a record of 1-1-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) and earned second place at the 2013 Under-18 Four Nations Tournament.
"We put ourselves in a great position to win the tournament by winning today, but came up just a bit short," said Danton Cole, head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Team. "We improved as the tournament progressed and will take what we learned here and continue to grow as a team."
Switzerland tallied the first goal of the contest at 14:52 of the opening period. Late in the frame, Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) notched the equalizer for Team USA. Johnathan MacLeod (Dracut, Mass.) and Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.) helped set up the play to earn assists.
The U.S. seized the lead at 1:16 of the second stanza off a Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) breakaway goal. Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.) recorded the lone helper. Tuch gave Team USA a two-goal advantage, capitalizing on a loose puck in the crease at 12:55. Ryan Wagner (Park Ridge, Ill.) and MacLeod assisted on the score. Less than two minutes later, Tuch struck again on the rebound to give the U.S. a 4-1 lead entering the final frame.
Shane Gersich (Chaska, Minn.) wristed a shot into the net at 3:23 of the third period for Team USA's fifth goal. Dylan Pavelek (Marysville, Mich.) collected an assist. Milano pushed the lead to five goals at 6:53. Tuch and Eichel registered assists on the play. The Swiss answered right back on the power play, but the U.S. lead proved insurmountable.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team returns home next weekend (Nov. 15-16) to face the United States Hockey League's Green Bay Gamblers. Both games will be held at the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Ice Cube at 7 p.m. EST.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)