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Gameday: U.S. set for preliminary-round finale vs. Russia

By USA Hockey, 08/08/18, 9:00AM EDT


Team USA looks to secure top seed entering semifinals

The United States Under-18 Men's Select Team will look to win its third consecutive game and secure a top semifinal seed at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup tonight at 7 p.m. MT (9 p.m. ET) when it takes on Russia. HockeyTV will provide live streaming of the game from Servus Arena in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.

Tonight’s Opponent: Russia
Team USA is 3-1 (W-L) in its last four meetings with Russia at the Hlinka Tournament. The teams last met in the 2016 semifinals when the U.S. won 4-3 in overtime. Michael Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla.), now at the University of Michigan, scored the game-winning goal for Team USA in overtime.

In 2015, the teams met in the preliminary round with Russia posting a 5-2 victory. In 2014, the U.S. skated to a 7-4 preliminary-round win over the Russians highlighted by a hat trick from Brock Boeser (Burnsville, Minn.), who went on to be named a finalist for the NHL's Calder Trophy and earn NHL All-Star Game MVP honors in 2017-18, becoming the first rookie since Mario Lemieux in 1985 to be so honored.

Team USA defeated the Russians again in the 2013, also in the preliminary round, by a score of 4-2.

Since the tournament was renamed the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in 2006, Russia has finished in the top three seven times, including two second-place finishes.

Game 2 Recap
Team USA won its second consecutive game Tuesday night, defeating Finland by a score of 6-2. With the victory, the U.S. secured a spot in the semifinals set to begin on Friday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Luke Toporowski (Bettendorf, Iowa) led the way offensively for Team USA, scoring two goals and adding an assist for a three-point night. 

Dustin Wolf (Tustin, Calif.) got the start in goal for the second consecutive game, stopping 29 of 31 shots, including a penalty shot, for his second win in as many nights.

Arthur Kaliyev (Delray Beach, Fla.) scored the game-winning goal 1:30 into the second period off a two-on one pass from Josh Nodler (Oak Park, Mich.), securing the victory for Team USA.

Three's Company, Four's a Crowd
The U.S. Under-18 Men's Select Team has three skaters with three points and two with four through two games at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Nodler (0G, 3A), Jackson Jutting (Savage, Minn.) (2G, 1A) and Robert Mastrosimone (East Islip, N.Y.) (2G, 1A) have all recorded three points over the first two games of the tournament.

Meanwhile, Toporowski (3G, 1A) and Grant Silianoff (1G, 3A) have each recorded four points through the team's first two games. The four points are tied for both the team and tournament lead.

Hoping for Hlinka History
The last time Team USA won all three of its preliminary-round games was 2006, when the tournament was renamed in honor of the late Ivan Hlinka. Coincidently, the U.S. skated in a pool with Czechia, Finland and Russia during the 2006 tournament, as is the case again this year. In 2006, Team USA collected two regulation wins along with one overtime victory in pool play.

Familiar Faces
Several members of the U.S. team have experience as teammates with numerous youth hockey organizations across the country. Toporowski (Bettendorf, Iowa) and Dylan Davies (Traverse City, Mich.) were teammates with the Chicago Mission, while Nodler, Mitchell Miller (Sylvania, Ohio) and Michael Mancinelli (Northville, Mich.) skated together with HoneyBaked Hockey Club in suburban Detroit. Sam Colangelo (Stoneham, Mass.) and Cade Webber (Meadville, Pa.) joined forces in Boston with the Little Bruins while John Farinacci (Chatham, N.J.) and Derek Mullahy (Scituate, Mass.) spent time together at Dexter School in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Several skaters have also crossed paths at Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep School in Minnesota, including Farinacci, Mastrosimone, Mullahy, Silianoff and Jackson LaCombe (Chaska, Minn.).

LaCombe also spent time with Wolf as a member of the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, a USA Hockey Model Association.

U.S. Roster

U.S. Homepage

Tournament Website

2018 U.S. Schedule

Date Opponent Round Time (Local/ET)/Result Location
Sat., Aug. 4 Slovakia Exhibition W, 10-4 Nexsource Arena
Sylvan Lake, Alta.
Mon., Aug. 6 Czech Republic Preliminary W, 6-0 Servus Arena
Red Deer, Alta.
Tues., Aug. 7 Finland Preliminary W, 6-2 Servus Arena
Red Deer, Alta.
Wed., Aug. 8 Russia Preliminary L, 3-8 Servus Arena
Red Deer, Alta.
Fri., Aug. 10 Canada Semifinals OTL, 5-6 Rogers Place
Edmonton, Alta.
Sat., Aug. 11 Russia Third-Place Game L, 4-5 Rogers Place
Edmonton, Alta.

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