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U.S. National Under-17 Team Defeats Switzerland, 6-1, in 2012 Vlad Dzurilla Under-18 Tournament Opener

02/09/2012, 2:00pm MST
By USA Hockey

PIESTANY, Slovakia - Evan Allen (Sterling Heights, Mich.) and Connor Chatham (Belleville, Ill.) each recorded three-point games, as the U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated Switzerland, 6-1, in the 2012 Vlad Dzurilla Under-18 Tournament opener here this afternoon at the Piestany Ice Arena.
 
"It was important for us to start this tough tournament with a win," said Don Granato, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team. "Our focus shifts to our next opponent and we'll need the same effort we had today."
Team USA opened the scoring at 2:39 of the first period. John Hayden (Greenwich, Conn.) notched the goal for the U.S. with Michael McCarron (Macomb, Mich.) earning the assist. The U.S. outshot Switzerland, 14-6, in the opening period.
 
Switzerland tied the game, 1-1, at the 2:29 mark of the second stanza. Dawson Cook (Cadillac, Mich.) tallied a short-handed goal to reclaim the lead for the U.S. at 3:51. A power-play strike by Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor, Mich.) extended Team USA's lead to two goals, 3-1. Kevin Labanc (Staten Island, N.Y.) collected an assist on the play. Allen netted the fourth goal for the U.S. at 13:52. Chatham registered an assist on the score.
 
Chatham netted back-to-back goals, one with the man advanatge, 52 seconds apart in the third period to ice the game for Team USA. Allen and Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.) earned assists on each of the tallies. Hunter Miska (North Branch, Minn.) turned aside all six shots he faced in the third period, and 16 shots total, in the win for the U.S. The netminder duo of Robin Kuonen and Melvin Nyffeler made a combined 31 saves for Switzerland in the loss.
 
The U.S. National Under-17 Team continues tournament play against Germany on Friday (Feb. 10) at 7:30 a.m. EST. The game will be held at the Piestany Ice Arena. Team USA's complete schedule can be found below.
 
NOTES: The U.S. outshot Switzerland, 37-17 ... The U.S. finished 2-for-5 on the power play, while Switzerland went 0-for-5 with the man advantage ...  The 2012 Vlad Dzurilla Under-18 Tournament features teams from Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland and the United States ... Team USA is the defending champion in this event, having claimed the tournament title in 2011 ... Follow @USAHockeyScores on Twitter for live scoring updates during the tournament. Scores will be designated with #2012VLAD ... For additional coverage, visit USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Facebook page ... The U.S. National Under-18 Team is also competing internationally this week at the 2012 Five Nations Tournament in Pori, Finland ... The U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 Teams train with The Hockey IntelliGym, a revolutionary new software program released on October 1, 2010 that trains hockey sense. To learn more, visit USAHockeyIntelliGym.com. 
 
GAME SUMMARY 
 
Scoring By Period
 
SUI     0 -     1 -     0 -    1
USA     1 -     3 -     2 -    6
  
First Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Hayden (McCarron), 2:39. Penalties: SUI, Schmutz (charging), 17:16.
 
Second Period - Scoring: 2, SUI, Brandi (Diem, Busser), 2:29; 3, USA, Cook (unassisted), 3:51, (sh); 4, USA, Copp (Labanc), 7:17, (pp); 5, USA, Allen (Chatham), 13:52. Penalties: USA, Hayden (interference), 2:51; SUI, Muller (roughing), 5:33; SUI, Rouiller (hooking), 8:02; SUI, Husler (holding), 11:07; USA, Copp (interference), 16:22.
 
Third Period - Scoring: 6, USA, Chatham (Allen, Kelleher), 4:51, (pp); 7, USA, Chatham (Allen, Kelleher), 5:43. Penalties: SUI, Balmelli (game-misconduct), 0:37; SUI, Balmelli (spearing), 0:37; USA, Motte (holding), 8:35; USA, Lewis (interference), 9:43; USA, Allen (hooking), 17:14.
 
Shots by Period 1 2 3 Total
SUI    6    5    6    17
USA    14    15    8    37
                     
Goaltenders (SH/SV)     1    2     3     Total 
SUI, Kuonen, 45:43     14/13   15/12   3/1    32/26
SUI, Nyffeler, 14:17    --    --    5/5    5/5
USA, Miska, 60:00    6/6    5/4    6/6    17/16 

Power Play: SUI 0-5; USA 2-5 
Penalties: SUI 6-33; USA 5-10

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USA Hockey: How do you think you've been able to maintain all of the officiating success you've had over the last 15 years?

Ian Walsh: I believe one of my strengths as an official is my work ethic. I come to the rink every night ready to work hard and give 100 percent. I also believe I am very coachable, and when I'm offered a suggestion for improvement, I try very hard to implement that advice into my game.  

USAH: What is your conditioning schedule like during the NHL season? How about during the off-season? 

Walsh: During the season, conditioning work is more about maintaining what you built up over the summer. The workouts aren't as intense but you must continue to take good care of your body. Game-day workouts usually include a 30-minute bike ride or a couple miles run at the hotel gym. I also like to do some core work and light strength training on top of that. 

The weather in Portland is amazing in the summer, and I prefer to be outside and on my road bike. I usually get in about four days a week of riding outdoors to help build my endurance and strength. I try to play hockey a few days a week as well to help work on my skating.

USAH: When did you realize you finally had cemented your career as an official? What was that feeling like?

Walsh: I don't know if you ever get that feeling. Every night is a different challenge in our league. It is a hard, hard league to officiate. The scrutiny of every call, every goal, ever non-call is such a challenge for all of us. The best players and coaches in the world expect us to perform at such a high level every night, and we have to be ready for anything that comes our way. It’s a privilege to be on the ice in the NHL, and I think that is something no official takes for granted.

USAH: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date as an official? 

Walsh: Being chosen to participate in four Stanley Cup playoffs is what I'm most proud of. It’s an incredible honor to be selected and that’s the goal for every official each year. Also, being part of the team that was chosen to represent the NHL at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was a phenomenal experience and a great opportunity.

USAH: What has been the biggest hurdle/obstacle you've had to overcome in your officiating career? 

Walsh: I’ve been lucky so far, knock on wood, that I haven’t had any serious injuries. Other than some bumps and bruises, I’ve been relatively injury-free in my career. The biggest challenge is to be able to bounce back from calls you made that aren't correct. In this day and age, we usually know within minutes after the game if we made a wrong decision. When you make a call that impacts the game, it’s hard on the mind. Unfortunately, we make mistakes and what most people don't understand is that nobody takes it harder than the official making that mistake. Being able to bounce back from a mistake is something all officials must learn to do.

USAH: Who has had the most impact on your officiating career over the past 15 years? What has that person or those people taught you?  

Walsh: Nobody has helped me more over my NHL career than fellow referee Paul Devorski. I've worked a lot of games with Paul and we’ve had the opportunity to travel together on the road. As an elite, veteran referee, he has been able to pass down some of his knowledge to me to help me become a better official. Paul is retiring this year, and our staff will sorely miss him.

USAH: How has the game changed, besides speed, since you started in the early 2000s?

Walsh: I would say the biggest change besides the speed of the game would be the use of technology. It is amazing what you see at rink – teams have iPads on the bench, super slo-motion video replays, hi-def video scoreboards, etc. With all that technology, it makes the officials job appear easy. People forget that the official on the ice sees a play one time, in real time, and must make a split-second decision on that play. It often appears quite different when you see a replay in super slo-mo on hi-def after a game.

USAH: What advice can you give aspiring NHL/professional league officials as they progress in their career? 

Walsh: I would say make sure you have a backup plan. Making it to the NHL is everyone’s goal, but there are very few jobs available. There are so many factors that go into hiring an official and a lot of those are out of your control. Go and work the highest level available to you. Don't worry about other officials, if you are good enough, the NHL will find you. Also, control what you can control – always work on your skating, know your rules and come to the rink every night with a strong work ethic and a great attitude.

Tag(s): Vlad Dzurilla