SUNDSVALL, Sweden - Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) had the game-winning goal and added an assist and nine other players registered at least one point, as the U.S. National Under-17 Team outlasted Finland, 6-5, here today at Gardehov Arena. The game marked the first for Team USA at the 2014 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament.
Team USA opened the scoring at 7:02 of the first period on the power play. From the left goal line, Matthews centered a pass to Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.) who buried the puck into the net. Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) also assisted on the play. Just 47 seconds later, Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) set up Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) in a similar play to double the U.S. lead. Dennis Yan (Troy, Mich.) also collected a helper. Finland answered by scoring three straight power-play markers, one with a 5-on-3 advantage, to turn the tide against Team USA, now down 3-2.
The U.S. tied the game midway through the second stanza when Roslovic jammed the puck past Finnish netminder Christian Heljanko. After the initial shot on net, a scramble ensued in the crease and Roslovic picked up his second tally on the day. Greenway earned the lone assist. Two goals scored 38 seconds apart helped Finland take back control of the game. With less than a minute remaining in the period, Luke Kirwan (DeWitt, N.Y.) scooped up his own rebound, spun around and wristed the shot past Heljanko.
Tkachuk tied the game at the 8:09 mark of the final frame, hacking at a rebound before the puck eventually went in. Charles McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y.) registered an assist. With just under five minutes remaining in the game, Matthews coasted into the slot and snapped a quick shot past Heljanko for the game-winning goal. Brendan Warren (Carleton, Mich.) and Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.) each earned assists.
Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) and Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) combined to turn away 16 shots in the victory for Team USA, while Heljanko made 32 saves in the loss for Finland.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team will next face the Czech Republic in Kovland, Sweden, on Friday (Feb. 7). Puck drop is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST at Anashallen Arena.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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