LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) buried the game-winning goal with 37 seconds to play in the overtime period as the U.S. defeated Finland, 5-4, here today at the 2015 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, New York.
Five minutes into the opening period, U.S. goaltender Brandon Halverson (Traverse City, Mich.) made back-to-back stops on the penalty kill to keep the game scoreless. Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) opened the scoring when he finished a pass in the slot from Scott Eansor (Englewood, Colo.) to make it 1-0 in favor of Team USA.
Finland evened the score just ten seconds later when Teem Liamsa’s slap shot from the blue line beat Halverson glove side. Finland connected again with two minutes remaining for a 2-1 lead.
Halverson was called upon again early in the second stanza with a sprawling toe save on the far post to keep it a one-goal game. The U.S. evened the scored at 15:16 when Erik Foley (Mansfield, Mass.) entered the zone and fired a wrist shot from above the slot that beat Finland’s goaltender low blocker side.
Finland made it 3-2 at 10:11 before scoring again two minutes later for a two-goal lead.
Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) brought the U.S. back within a goal on a power-play marker with seven minutes remaining. The play started when Paul Bittner (Crookston, Minn.) circled behind the net and sent the puck back to Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.), who fired a slap shot on goal. The puck bounced around in front before Tkachuk hammered home the rebound.
Midway through the final frame, Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.) made it 4-4 when he found Louie Belpedio’s (Skokie, Ill.) rebound at the left circle.
The score remained 4-4 at the end of regulation to force a five-minute, four-on-four overtime. With :37 on the clock, Brock Boeser (Burnsville, Minn.) found Werenski rushing up the middle and sent him a pass that resulted in the winning tally.
The U.S. returns to action tomorrow (Aug. 6) when it takes on Sweden. Puck drop is set for 4 p.m. ET in the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena at the Olympic Center. The game will be streamed live at usahockey.fasthockey.com, with live stats available at worldjuniors.usahockey.com.