VIERUMAKI, Finland - Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.) notched two goals and registered two assists, and 14 other players recorded at least one, point as the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team defeated Germany, 9-1, here today at Vierumaki Arena. The game served as a tune up to the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's Under-18 World Championship. The tournament officially begins on April 17.
Team USA opened the scoring at 11:25 of the first frame. Joe Wegwerth (Brewster, N.Y.) set up Johnathan MacLeod (Dracut, Mass.) in the left faceoff circle. MacLeod received the pass and wristed the puck high over the glove of German goaltender Florian Proske. Bjork also assisted. The U.S. outshot its opponent, 15-4, in the period, as Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) turned aside each attempt he saw.
Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) doubled the U.S. lead on the power play just over two minutes into the second stanza. Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.) and Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) cycled the puck on the right side before Milano swung the puck back out to Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill.) inside the blue line. Belpedio blasted a slapshot that was tipped in front by Tuch for the score. With 1:39 left on the clock, Bjork took a centering pass and roofed the puck into the net to extend the U.S. lead to three. Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) and Ryan Hitchcock (Manhasset, N.Y.) earned the assists.
Milano tapped the puck past Daniel Fiessinger for Team USA's fourth goal 1:41 into the final stanza. Eichel earned the lone assist on the tally. Dylan Pavelek (Marysville, Mich.) notched a goal less than two minutes later with helpers going to Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Shane Gersich (Chaska, Minn.). After a too-many-men call against Germany, Milano scored again after taking a feed from Eichel. Brandon Fortunato (North Hills, N.Y.) also assisted. Hitchcock made the score 7-0 before Germany lit the lamp for the first time. Larkin and Bjork executed a give-and-go for the eighth U.S. goal, as Bjork deposited the puck into the net. Kyle Connor (Shelby Township, Mich.) one-timed the puck past Fiessinger to give Team USA a 9-1 lead that stood until time expired. Jack Glover (Golden Valley, Minn.) and Gersich collected helpers on the play.
Minney and Alex Nedeljkovic (Parma, Ohio) shared duties in the U.S. net this afternoon, combining to stop 25 shots in the victory.
Team USA opens tournament play in preliminary-round action versus Switzerland on April 17, in Lappeenranta. Game time is scheduled for 8 a.m. EDT. The game will be broadcast for free through FASTHockey.com.