BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Seven different players scored for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team and Stephen Dhillon (Buffalo, N.Y.) made 30 saves as the U.S. beat Slovakia, 7-3, here today at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in Bratislava, Slovakia.
“I’m really happy for our guys today,' said Derek Plante (Cloquet, Minn.), head coach of the 2015 U.S. Under-18 Select Team. “They were finally rewarded for their hard work and were able to score some goals. Slovakia gave a great push and I was very happy with how we responded.”
The U.S. grabbed an early lead at 2:02 of the first period when William Knierim (Skokie, Ill.) retrieved a loose puck in Slovakia’s crease and put it past goaltender Jan Koziak. Five minutes later, Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie, Minn.) tucked a wraparound attempt by Knierim into the net to make it 2-0.
At 3:03 of the second stanza, John Leonard's (Amherst, Mass.) shot hit the post and Drake Rymsha (Huntington Woods, Mich.) was there to bury the rebound. Timmy Gettinger (North Olmsted, Ohio) extended the U.S. lead to 4-0 when he converted on a Kailer Yamamoto (Spokane, Wash.) shot at 6:02.
Slovakia got on the board with 3:14 remaining in the second period and scored two goals within seven minutes in the third period to make the score 4-3.
The U.S. responded with three goals in the closing minutes of the game to seal the 7-3 victory. Yamamoto stole the puck in the slot and sent home a wrist shot from the right circle at 15:05. Within a span of 1:15, Christopher Berger (Williamsville, N.Y.) cut between two Slovakian defensemen and scored on a backhander and then Leonard scored from the right circle on a pass from Rymsha.
The U.S. will continue competition in the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament when it faces the Czech Republic at 9:40 a.m. ET on Friday, Aug. 14.