PIESTANY, SLOVAKIA – In preparation for the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, the U.S. Under-18 Select Team defeated Slovakia, 8-3, here today. The tournament will take place Aug. 11-16 in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia. Team USA will participate in Group A with the Czech Republic, Finland and Russia, which competes in Breclav.
"Tonight was a much needed game," said Derek Plante, head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Select Team. "The guys were excited to start playing and see what our team looks like. It was fun to get started and we look forward to building on tonight's effort."
In the opening stanza, the U.S. and Slovakia swapped goals. Team USA struck first, just two minutes into the period, with a goal from Nicholas Swaney (Lakeville, Minn.).
At 11:24 of the first, Slovakia cashed in on the power play to tie the game.
The U.S. exploded in the second period, tallying five goals. Less than a minute in, Robert Jackson (Alameda, Calif.) scored the go-ahead goal to make it 2-1. Then at 3:47, Karch Bachman (Wolcottville, Ind.) scored for a 3-1 lead. Next, Ryan Moore (Troy, Mich.) put one in from Bachman and Erik Foley (Mansfield, Mass.). Just before the half way mark of the second period, Thomas Novak (River Falls, Wis.) tallied a goal assisted by Zach Wilkie (Villa Park, Ill.). To round out the second period scoring, Dennis Yan (Ann Arbor, Mich.) netted one with 6:35 left to play.
In the third, the teams alternated scoring, beginning with Slovakia making it 6-2 just three minutes in.
Ten minutes later, Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) notched a goal with helpers from Jackson and Spenser Young (Brentwood, N.H.).
Slovakia climbed within four goals with less than five minutes to play in the period.
And with a minute and a half left in the game, the U.S. capped its victory with a goal from Grant Gabriele (Brighton, Mich.).
The U.S. goaltending tandem, Matthew Jurusik (La Grange, Ill.) and Evan Sarthou (Black Diamond, Wash.), split net duties. Sarthou started and made six of seven saves. Jurusik played the final 31:29 of the game, stopping 13 of 15 shots.
Team USA begins preliminary-round action of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup Monday (Aug. 11) against the Czech Republic at 1:00 p.m. ET. Team USA placed second in last year’s tournament.
Play-by-play for all Hlinka Memorial Cup games can be found on eurolivescores.com, and stay tuned USAHockey.com for game recaps.
The Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup is an annual event held each August for national under-18 teams from around the world. Named for one of the first Czech hockey stars, the tournament began in 1991 as a three-team showcase. Between 1997 and 2002, the format shifted to the current eight-team tournament. It was then named after Hlinka in 2007, three years after his passing.