FRISCO, Texas - The U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team never trailed en route to its first win of the 2021 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship, a 5-3 victory over Germany fueled by two power-play goals from Ty Gallagher (Clarkston, Mich.).
“As you go through a tournament like this, you’ve got to find different ways to win," said head coach Dan Muse (Canton, Mass.) after the game. "We found a way tonight and that’s something to build off of heading into Thursday.”
Team USA got on the board first courtesy of Jack Hughes (Westwood, Mass.), skating in his first IIHF game. Ty Murchison (Corona, Calif.) corralled a puck off the boards and took the initial shot at the left point. The puck hit Jack Devine (Glencoe, Ill.) and got caught in some skates before Hughes found the loose rubber and wasted no time putting his wrist-shot in the top corner for a 1-0 lead.
The U.S. power play continued its impressive start to the tournament when Gallagher blasted a one-timer from the left circle to extend the lead to 2-0 with 3:29 to play in the first. He was set up by Aidan Hreschuk (Long Beach, Calif.) and Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.).
Germany cut the lead back to one before the close of the opening period when Kevin Niedenz converted on a rebound opportunity off a 2-on-1 rush.
Sasha Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla.) momentarily restored the two-goal lead for Team USA when he netted his second goal in two games with 7:20 to play in the second. Pastujov slid a pass to Logan Cooley (West Mifflin, Pa.) in front of the cage, who tried to push it in, but Pastujov sat on the doorstep to bang home the rebound for a 3-1 U.S. lead.
The Germans brought it back to within a goal when they netted a power-play goal of their own on a 5-on-3 advantage. Bennet Rossmy feigned a pass before picking the top corner to bring the score to 3-2 after 40 minutes.
Team USA lit the lamp first in the final period as Charlie Stramel (Rosemount, Minn.) forced a turnover in the defensive zone and carried the puck all the way in on a breakaway. The 6-foot-3 forward finished with a finesse chip shot just over the glove of the German netminder for a 4-2 lead.
For the third straight time after the U.S. took a two-goal lead, Germany cut it back to a one-goal deficit as Sebastian Cimmerman found the net with a far-corner wrist-shot with 8:12 to play in regulation.
The final multi-goal advantage was the last one Team USA needed when Gallagher put in his second power-play marker of the night. Howard set up the defenseman for the one-timer who banked it off a German defenseman and in with just over three minutes to play.
Goaltender Gibson Homer (Grand Rapids, Mich.) turned aside 25 shots from Germany to pick up his first win in net.
Team USA gets a day off before taking on the Czech Republic Thursday night back here at Comerica Center.
NOTES: Ty Gallagher, with two goals scored, was named the U.S. Player of the Game, presented by Elite Prospects... Team USA news, interviews, highlights and more can be found at TeamUSA.USAHockey.com....For the official IIHF home for the 2021 Under-18 World Championship, click here... 23 of the 24 players on Team USA's roster come from the National Team Development Program... The U.S. enters the tournament having medaled in a record 16 consecutive tournaments, including six golds in the past 10 competitions... For the latest news and information about the tournament, follow @USAHockey on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.