LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – Playing as one squad for the first time of the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp, Team USA downed Sweden, 7-1, at the Olympic Center’s USA Rink. Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y./U.S. National Under-18 Team) notched a hat trick, Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./U.S. National Under-18 Team) tallied three assists and Ryan Collins (Bloomfield, Minn./U.S. National Under-18 Team) scored twice.
To kickoff the scoring, Mike Downing (Canton, Mich./University of Michigan) blasted a power-play shot into the net at 13:19 of the first period. Eichel made a cross-ice pass to JT Compher (Northbrook, Ill./University of Michigan), who teed up a pass back to Downing at the center point.
In the second stanza, Team USA erupted for four goals, two of which came on the power play, to claim a 5-0 advantage. Camped out in front of the net, Tuch received a pass, spun and slid the puck around the outstretched leg of the goaltender in the first minute of the period.
Then over a span of 1:15, Collins and Tuch put the U.S. up 4-0. Sweden collapsed near its net and the U.S. worked the puck out of the corner to Collins, who moved into the high slot and wristed it in. For the fourth goal, Eichel circled the net and passed to Tuch who spun off his man in front of the net and scored.
To finish the scoring in the second, Will Butcher (Sun Prairie, Wis./University of Denver) kept the puck in at the blue line on the power play, passed down to Nick Schmaltz (Verona, Wis./Green Bay Gamblers) in the left circle. He found John Hayden (Greenwich, Conn./Yale University) in front of the net, who flipped the puck over the goaltender’s shoulder for the 5-0 lead.
Just twelve seconds into the third period, Sweden finally got on the board to make it 5-1.
However, Team USA answered when Tuch completed his hat trick at 3:01, taking a pass up the right wing from Butcher and shot it through the goaltender. Two minutes later, Collins tallied his second of the night, corralling a loose puck at the top of the left circle, shooting it off a Swedish defenseman and in.
In net, Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif./Boston College) played the full 60 minutes and stopped 23 of 24 shots.
Notes: Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y./U.S. National Under-18 Team) currently leads Team USA in scoring with six points (2-4) ... Butcher and Tuch are second and third, each tallying five points (1-4, 5-0) ... Eichel is fourth with four points (0-4).