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Team USA Downs Finland in Shootout Thriller

By USAHockey.com, 12/26/14, 5:30PM EST

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De Leo scores game-winning goal in first game of tournament

MONTREAL — Chase De Leo (La Mirada, Calif./Portland Winterhawks) scored the decisive goal in the shootout, and Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif./Boston College) stopped 28-of-29 shots to propel the U.S. National Junior Team to a 2-1 victory over Finland in its opening contest of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

“That’s a very good team we just beat,” said Mark Osiecki, head coach of the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team. “I give our guys a lot of credit. They played hard and I thought we got better as the game went on.”

Finland opened the scoring just 1:22 into the game when the puck deflected off the skate of a U.S. player past Demko at the side of the net. Team USA evened the game on the power play at 13:54. After Anthony DeAngleo (Philadelphia, Pa./Sarnia Sting) shot the puck deep into the Finnish zone, Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./Boston University) made a nifty play from behind the net, passing it off the end wall to himself and then backhanding a pass out front to a wide open Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y./Boston College) who fired it home from out in front.

Both teams had chances in the final two periods and the five-minute overtime, but neither squad was able to convert.

In the shootout, Eichel put the U.S. ahead, however, Arturi Lehkonen evened the score in bottom of the first round. After a scoreless second round, De Leo went forehand to backhand and snuck the puck between Ville Husso’s pads for the game-winning goal in the top of the third round, while Demko made a glove save on Kasperi Kapenen in the bottom of the third to secure the win.

Team USA is back in action Sunday (Dec. 28) against Germany at 8 p.m. ET in Montreal at the Bell Centre. The game can be seen live on NHL Network and will be streamed live on NHL.com. Follow @USAHockeyScores for in-game updates.

Notes: Team USA was one-for-five on the power play and held Finland scoreless on five man advantage chances … Defenseman Will Butcher (Sun Prairie, Wis./University of Denver) was named the U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. had a 38-29 edge in shots on goal … The U.S. won its opening game in the IIHF World Junior Championship for the ninth time in the last 10 years ... Team USA will practice tomorrow at 12 noon ET at the practice arena.

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