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U.S. National Under-17 Team Captures 2012 Vlad Dzurilla Under-18 Tournament Title with 8-3 Win Over Slovakia

02/11/2012, 2:00pm MST
By USA Hockey

PIESTANY, Slovakia - Evan Allen (Sterling Heights, Mich.) scored one goal and added three assists, as the U.S. National Under-17 Team toppled Slovakia, 8-3, in the 2012 Vlad Dzurilla Under-18 Tournament here this evening at the Piestany Ice Arena. With the victory, Team USA finished the tournament with a perfect 3-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record and clinched the tournament title for the third straight year (2010-12).

"I'm very proud of how our guys played against tough competition," said Don Granato, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team. "It's an honor to represent USA Hockey in every tournament, but coming home with a title makes it extra special."

Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.) opened the scoring at 6:05 of the first period. Connor Chatham (Belleville, Ill.) and Anthony Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.) collected assists on the play. Kelleher's second goal of the game gave Team USA a two-goal lead. Allen and Keaton Thompson (Devils Lake, N.D.) registered assists on the power-play marker. Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor, Mich.) extended the U.S. advantage just 12 seconds later from passes by Allen and Will Butcher (Sun Prairie, Wis.). Dawson Cook (Cadillac, Mich.) capped the four-goal frame with a tally at 16:46 with assists credited to John Hayden (Greenwich, Conn.) and Michael McCarron (Macomb, Mich.).

Anthony Louis (Winfield, Ill.) notched a goal for the U.S. at 4:50 of the second period while Team USA held a two-man advantage. Allen and Butcher earned the helpers. Hudson Fasching (Burnsville, Minn.) made it 6-0 after his marker at 9:05 from J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill.). Louis connected with Copp for Team USA's seventh goal at 11:45 and the U.S. carried a 7-0 lead into the second intermission.

Slovakia tallied three consecutive goals in the final frame, but it would not prove to be enough. Allen netted the final goal of the game with just two seconds remaining to give the U.S. an 8-3 victory and secure the tournament title.
Hunter Miska (North Branch, Minn.) turned aside 24 shots in the win for Team USA, while the netminder duo of Richard Sabol and Patrik Romancik made 27 combined saves in the loss for Slovakia.

NOTES: Team USA outscored its opponents, 22-4, in its three games in the tournament ... The U.S. outshot Slovakia, 35-27 ... The U.S. finished 2-for-5 on the power play, while Slovakia went 0-for-5 with the man advantage ... The 2012 Vlad Dzurilla Under-18 Tournament featured teams from Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland and the United States ... 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
SVK     0 -     0 -    3 -    3
USA     4 -     3 -     1 -    8
 
First Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Kelleher (Chatham, Florentino), 6:05; 2, USA, Kelleher (Allen, Thompson), 7:35, (pp); 3, USA, Copp (Allen, Butcher), 7:47; 4, Cook (Hayden, McCarron), 16:46. Penalties: SVK, Chrkavy (tripping), 6:11.

Second Period - Scoring: 5, USA, Louis (Allen, Butcher), 4:50, (5-on-3); 6, Fasching (Compher), 9:05; 7, USA, Copp (Louis), 11:45. Penalties: SVK, Bench (too-many-men), 3:33; SVK, Buri (delay-of-game), 3:55; USA, Motte (hooking), 7:26; SVK, Kolena (roughing), 8:43; SVK, Kolena (roughing), 8:43; USA, McCarron (roughing), 8:43; SVK, Buri (interference), 18:02.

Third Period - Scoring: 8, SVK, Paulovic (unassisted), 2:59; 9, SVK, Dano (Predajniansky, Reway), 5:55; 10, SVK, Sohajda (Simun), 12:38; 11, USA, Allen (Hayden), 19:58. Penalties: USA, Florentino (tripping), 4:22; SVK, Kolena (cross-checking), 4:22; SVK, Sohaida (roughing), 6:56; USA, Hayden (slashing), 6:56; SVK, Palecek (roughing), 6:56; SVK, Sohajda (roughing), 6:56; USA, Florentino (closing-hand-on-puck), 8:55; USA, Hayden (delay-of-game), 9:42; USA, Motte (slashing), 13:57; USA, Kelleher (cross-checking), 18:23; SVK, Keckes (cross-checking), 18:23.
 
Shots by Period 1 2 3 Total
SVK    6    5    16    27
USA    16    13    6    35
                     
Goaltenders (SH/SV)    1    2    3    Total
SVK, Sabol, 38:42    6/3   6/5  6/5    18/13
SVK, Romancik, 21:18    10/9    7/5    --    17/14
USA, Miska, 60:00    6/6    5/5    16/13    27/24

Power Play: SVK 0-5; USA 2-5

Penalties: SVK 10-20; USA 10-20

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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