DMITROV, Russia - Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) netted two power-play goals, as the U.S. National Under-18 Team bested Russia, 5-2, here tonight at Dmitrov Arena. The game was the first of four for Team USA at the 2014 Under-18 Four Nations Tournament.
Team USA struck first just over one minute into the first period. Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill.) tallied the goal from Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) and Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.). The U.S. doubled its lead on the power play at the midway point when Jack Glover (Golden Valley, Minn.) found Larkin at the top of the right faceoff circle. Larkin wristed the shot into the net for the score. Eichel extended the lead, 3-0, taking a pass in the slot from Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.) and blasting the puck past the Russian netminder at 16:03.
Milano scored the second power-play marker for Team USA to open the middle stanza. Johnathan MacLeod (Dracut, Mass.) earned an assist on the play. The goal would stand as the lone tally of the period.
Team USA's third goal with the man advantage gave the U.S. a 5-0 cushion in the final frame. Larkin one-timed a pass into the cage from the right side of the net for the score. Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.) and Glover collected helpers. Russia scored to spoil the shutout bid and once more to draw closer to the U.S., 5-2, but it would be as close as the host country would get.
Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) stopped 19 shots in the win for the U.S., while Maxim Sidorov made 23 saves in the loss for Russia.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team will enjoy one day off in between contests before facing Finland on Thursday (Feb. 6). Puck drop is slated for 6:30 a.m. EST at Dmitrov Arena.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)