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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: What was it like to be a part of the U22 and U18 Select Series’

Melissa Szkola: The experience was wonderful. It was fantastic. We’ve essentially got the two best teams in the world competing against each other, so the learning experience, working with the officials that we have, is always amazing. You leave here a better person, a better official; that’s what we’re here for. That’s what I look forward to the most at these big-time events: the level of hockey and what you get out of it as a whole.

USAH: How did you first get into officiating?

Szkola: It’s been nine years since I got my start. I was a competitive figure skater and my older brother played hockey, so I’ve always been around the game, but it was my husband who actually got me into the officiating side of it. When we started dating, he was a roller and ice hockey official. He asked me to come with one time and I said ‘okay.’ That’s how I got started. It’s something he and I have in common and he is my biggest supporter. I wouldn’t be here without him.

USAH: So nine years under your belt, how would you describe some of your past IIHF events?

Szkola: I’ve had a handful of experiences with international tournaments. Each one has brought a new set of skills to my plate. You learn a lot about yourself and you learn a lot from your supervisors from different countries as well. To get out and work with other female officials and learn from them and your supervisors is amazing.

Being in another country, where sometimes there aren’t people who even speak English, is a really unique experience as well. The communication that you learn to speak with non-English speaking officials really makes you appreciate what you have in common – hockey.

USAH: How did the Select Series compare to those events?

Szkola: The level of play, it’s definitely much higher at the Select Series than any of the championships that I’ve been to. I wouldn’t say that the intensity is much different, because at each level they are competing for their highest achievement. The intensity is the same, the importance is the same, but the level of play is definitely much better; it’s faster, it’s crisper. Your awareness just has to be that much higher.

USAH: Did calling a game with high-caliber players like those at the Select Series shake up any nerves?

Szkola: I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous before we got on the ice. I’ve watched Team USA and Team Canada compete before, so you know the level at which they intend to play. Being out there with it, you just know where the emotions can go sometimes. It was a little nerve-wracking before the start, but as soon as that puck drops, you have a job to do. USA Hockey does a fantastic job developing us; I feel like they wouldn’t put you out there if you weren’t ready. Once that puck drops, you’re kind of at home.

USAH: What’s next for your officiating future?

Szkola: The support that I have, not only from my hometown in Michigan, but also the support and development USA Hockey has given really sets you up for success if you want to take it in that direction. That is my goal. I do want to skate in the Olympics. Moving forward I am going to continue to improve upon each experience that I have, because you can always be better. Mistakes do get made, so you learn from those and improve yourself. 

Tag(s): Vlad Dzurilla