LANDSHUT, Germany - The U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team used six unanswered goals from six different scorers to push past Finland, 6-1, in its final pre-tournament game ahead of the 2022 IIHF U18 Men's World Championship.
The Finns netted the first goal at 1:46 of the opening period on a power play. Samu Bau took a pass from Jere Lassila and managed to get it by Team USA netminder Trey Augustine (South Lyon, Mich.) after three whacks.
The U.S. responded with a trio of goals before the close of the first period. The first came from Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.) during 4-on-4 action, giving the forward goals in both pre-tournament games. Augustine left the puck for Ryan Chesley (Mahtomedi, Minn.) behind the USA net and the defenseman used his speed to drive into the offensive zone. He went cross-ice to Howard on the right wing, who ripped a wrister from the faceoff circle to even the game.
Twenty-three seconds later, on the same 4-on-4, Chesley gave the USA the lead with a rocket from the left circle. Charlie Stramel (Rosemount, Minn.) settled the puck down low and found Lane Hutson (North Barrington, Ill.) at the left point. The defenseman walked the blue line and drew the defense to him before finding Chesley to make it 2-1.
Logan Cooley (Pittsburgh, Pa.) doubled the American advantage before the close of the period. On the power play, Cutter Gauthier (Scottsdale, Ariz.) worked the puck to Seamus Casey (Fort Myers, Fla.) at the right point. The defenseman rang a shot off the right post that deflected to Cooley on the far side, where he fired a shot into an empty net for a 3-1 lead with 18 seconds to play in the frame.
The U.S. added another trio in the middle period, the first from Jimmy Snuggerud (Chaska, Minn.) less than two minutes in. Gauthier drove the net hard but was initially denied by Eemil Vinni. The puck squirted free behind the Finnish net and Cooley was first to the loose rubber before feeding Snuggerud, who snapped a wrister from the slot to make it a 4-1 game.
Team USA made it five in a row with a shorthanded marker from Devin Kaplan (Bridgewater, N.J.) After a great forecheck, Gauthier forced a turnover and centered a feed to Kaplan who was alone in front. He corralled the pass and popped a quick shot over the glove of Vinni at 6:25 of the second.
Cole Spicer (Grand Forks, N.D.) completed the three-goal period with a quick backhand shot through the five-hole in the final minute of the second. Brady Cleveland (Wausau, Wis.) led Kaplan into the offensive zone, where he worked it to Spicer for the finish.
Neither side found the back of the net in the final period as the game ended with a 6-1 final.
Augustine stood tall in net for Team USA for all 60 minutes and pitched a clean slate after the early Finnish goal.
The team opens the 2022 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship Saturday against Canada. Puck drop is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. local) from Fanatec Arena. The game will be shown on a two-hour delay on NHL Network and streamed live on ESPN+. NHL Network will broadcast all Team USA games for the tournament.