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U18s Fall in Ivan Hlinka Opener

By USA Hockey, 08/05/13, 1:00PM EDT

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PIESTANY, Slovakia – Paul Bittner (Crookston, Minn.) and Kyle Connor (Shelby Township, Mich.) scored, and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic made 20 saves, but the U.S. Under-18 Select Team dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to Finland in the opening game of the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament today.

"I'm quite pleased with the effort today," said head coach Bob Corkum. "The guys worked hard and stuck with the systems. We generated enough chances to win the game, but we didn't have enough puck luck. I think we got better as the game went on and played our best hockey in the third period. We'll have to duplicate that effort."

Bittner started the scoring 7:54 into the opening period when he was able to get a shot past Finland goaltender Kappo Kahkonen.

Then, after Finland struck for two straight goals -- one early in the second period and one midway through the third -- Connor tied the game with a power-play goal with 2:39 remaining in regulation.

Finland took advantage of a power play and scored the game-winner just 59 seconds into overtime.

Bob Nardella (Rosemont, Ill.), Ryan Mantha (Clarkston, Mich.), Austin Poganski (St. Cloud, Minn.) and Chase Phelps (Faribault, Minn.) each recorded single assists for Team USA in the game.

The U.S. Under-18 Select Team continues play in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament tomorrow (Aug. 6) against Russia.

NOTES:Joseph Snively (Harndon, Va.) was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... Follow the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament on Twitter by following @USAHockeyScores and using #IvanHlinka ... The 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament features teams from Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States ... Team USA has finished in the top three of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament 10 times since the tournament's inception in 1991, including a first-place finish in 2003. The U.S. has finished second seven times (1993, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2010) and third twice (1991, 1995) ... Team USA finished in seventh place last year ... The 22 players on the U.S. roster represent 10 different states. Minnesota leads the way with eight representitives, while Michigan has four and both Illinois and Colorado have two ... Bob Corkum (Salisbury, Mass.) serves as head coach and John Gruden (Virginia, Minn.), assistant coach with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, Matt Herr (Hackensack, N.J.) a regional manager of USA Hockey's American Development Model, and Derek Plante (Cloquet, Minn.), assistant coach at the University of Minnesota Duluth, serve as assistant coaches.

Game Summary

Scoring By Period  1  2  3  OT    Total
USA  1    0    1    0    2
FIN    0    1    1    1    3

First Period -- Scoring: 1, USA, Bittner (Nardella, Mantha), 7:54 (pp). Penalties: USA, Snively (hooking), 5:54; FIN, Keskitalo (tripping), 6:37; FIN, Parikka (interference), 12:16; FIN, Bench (too many men), 16:28.

Second Period -- Scoring: 2, FIN, Rantanen (Lammikko), 0:35. Penalties: USA, Wolff (delay of game), 4:45; FIN, Makinen (interference), 8:25; USA, Phelps (holding), 12:19.

Third Period -- Scoring: 3, FIN, Makinen (Kauppinen, Rantanen), 7:43; 4, USA, Connor (Poganski, Phelps), 17:21 (pp). Penalties: FIN, Haapanen (interference), 16:52; USA, Poganski (slashing), 19:04; USA, Dougherty (slashing), 19:36.

Overtime -- Scoring: 5, FIN, Hopponen (unassisted), 0:59 (pp). Penalties: None.

Shots By Period  1  2  3  OT    Total
USA  6    10   12   0    28
FIN    3    13    6    1    23

Goaltenders (SV/SH) 1  2  3  OT  Total
USA, Nedeljovic MINS    3/3    12/13   5/6   0/1    20/23
FIN, Kahkonen MINS    5/6    10/10    11/12    0/0    26/28

Power Play: USA, 2-5; FIN, 1-5
Penalties: USA, 5-10; FIN, 5-10

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