GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Kieffer Bellows (Edina, Minn.) and Kailer Yamamoto (Spokane, Wash.) each tallied one goal, but the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team fell to Finland, 4-2, here this evening in semifinal action at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Team USA will next face either Canada or Sweden in the bronze-medal game on Sunday (April 24).
"I’m proud of how hard our guys worked tonight," said Danton Cole, head coach of the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team. "We still have a chance to finish with a win to earn a medal and we’ll be ready to play tomorrow."
Team USA opened the scoring 11:42 into the first frame. Skating up the right side, Adam Fox (Jericho, N.Y.) found Bellows streaking toward the net. Fox’s pass from the top of faceoff circle was redirected past Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen for the score. Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill.) also assisted. Finland answered to knot the contest, 1-1, in the late stages of the period.
The U.S. attempted to break the deadlock in the second stanza, with Logan Brown (Raleigh, N.C.) and Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn.) each hitting posts, but the puck stayed out of the net. Joseph Woll (St. Louis, Mo.) turned aside all eight shots he faced in the frame.
Finland grabbed the 2-1 lead late in the third period while skating shorthanded. Defenseman Chad Krys (Ridgefield, Conn.) blocked away the initial Finnish chance but the puck got lost in front and was knocked in. Yamamoto deflected a pass past Luukkonen to tie the game 1:22 later with Team USA still on the power play. Luke Martin (St. Louis, Mo.) and Ryan Lindgren (Minneapolis, Minn.) collected assists. Finland notched a power-play goal with 37 seconds remaining to go up, 3-2, and added an empty-net tally just before time expired to seal the victory.
The U.S. Men’s Under-18 National Team will face either Canada or Sweden in the bronze-medal game on Sunday (April 24). Puck drop is slated for 4:00 p.m. ET and will air live on NHL Network.