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Balanced Attack Lifts U.S. Over Germany in Pre-Tourney Game

04/14/2014, 10:00am MDT
By USA Hockey

VIERUMAKI, Finland - Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.) notched two goals and registered two assists, and 14 other players recorded at least one, point as the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team defeated Germany, 9-1, here today at Vierumaki Arena. The game served as a tune up to the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's Under-18 World Championship. The tournament officially begins on April 17.

Team USA opened the scoring at 11:25 of the first frame. Joe Wegwerth (Brewster, N.Y.) set up Johnathan MacLeod (Dracut, Mass.) in the left faceoff circle. MacLeod received the pass and wristed the puck high over the glove of German goaltender Florian Proske. Bjork also assisted. The U.S. outshot its opponent, 15-4, in the period, as Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) turned aside each attempt he saw.

Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) doubled the U.S. lead on the power play just over two minutes into the second stanza. Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.) and Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) cycled the puck on the right side before Milano swung the puck back out to Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill.) inside the blue line. Belpedio blasted a slapshot that was tipped in front by Tuch for the score. With 1:39 left on the clock, Bjork took a centering pass and roofed the puck into the net to extend the U.S. lead to three. Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) and Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.) earned the assists.

Milano tapped the puck past Daniel Fiessinger for Team USA's fourth goal 1:41 into the final stanza. Eichel earned the lone assist on the tally. Dylan Pavelek (Marysville, Mich.) notched a goal less than two minutes later with helpers going to Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Shane Gersich (Chaska, Minn.). After a too-many-men call against Germany, Milano scored again after taking a feed from Eichel. Brandon Fortunato (North Hills, N.Y.) also assisted. Hitchcock made the score 7-0 before Germany lit the lamp for the first time. Larkin and Bjork executed a give-and-go for the eighth U.S. goal, as Bjork deposited the puck into the net. Kyle Connor (Shelby Township, Mich.) one-timed the puck past Fiessinger to give Team USA a 9-1 lead that stood until time expired. Jack Glover (Golden Valley, Minn.) and Gersich collected helpers on the play.

Minney and Alex Nedeljkovic (Parma, Ohio) shared duties in the U.S. net this afternoon, combining to stop 25 shots in the victory.

Team USA opens tournament play in preliminary-round action versus Switzerland on April 17, in Lappeenranta. Game time is scheduled for 8 a.m. EDT. The game will be broadcast for free through FASTHockey.com.

Notes

  • Team USA outshot Germany, 50-26.
  • Twenty players on the U.S. roster come from USA Hockey's NTDP. Kyle Connor skated this season for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League. Alex Nedeljkovic played for the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers.
  • Team USA's roster includes 20 players born in 1996 and two from the 1997 birth year. Forward Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.), born Sept. 17, 1997, is Team USA's youngest player, while Nedeljkovic, born Jan. 7, 1996, is the oldest.
  • Eleven different states are represented on the roster. New York leads the way with five skaters, while Minnesota boasts four.
  • The U.S. enters the tournament having captured a record 10-consecutive medals, including back-to-back golds in 2005-06 and four-straight gold medals from 2009-12; three silver medals (2004, 2007, 2013); and one bronze medal (2008).
  • Team USA's seven gold medals are the most of any country in IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship history. The event began in 1999. Team USA earned its first gold medal in 2002.
  • The U.S. will play in Group B alongside the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland. Group A consists of Canada, Germany, Russia, Slovakia and Sweden.
  • Follow @USAHockeyScores on Twitter for live scoring updates during the tournament. Scores will be designated with the #U18Worlds tag.
  • For additional coverage, visit the NTDP Facebook page and follow @USANTDP on Twitter.

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