Photos by Andreas Planck (andreasplanck.se).
SUNDSVALL, Sweden - Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich./1-1) and Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz./0-2) recorded two points each as the U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated Sweden, 4-1, here tonight at Gardehov Arena. With the win, Team USA finishes with a perfect 4-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record and earns first place at the 2014 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament.
Sweden tallied the first goal of the game at 3:58 of the opening period. Team USA knotted the score on the power play with just four seconds remaining in the frame. Matthews sent a shot on net that ricocheted directly to Werenski on the right side. The defenseman settled the puck and wristed it into the wide open net. Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.) also assisted on the play.
After a scoreless second stanza, Team USA struck at 7:40 of the third period to take the lead. The U.S. halted a clearing attempt by Sweden and the puck found Luke Kirwan (DeWitt, N.Y.) alone in front of the net. Kirwan lit the lamp for the eventual game-winning tally. Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) and Charles McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y.) registered assists. Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) knocked in a rebound at 10:37 to extend the advantage for the U.S. Werenski earned the lone helper. Team USA sealed the victory when Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale, Ill.) skated out to the front of crease and backhanded the puck into the cage. Matthews and Brendan Warren (Carleton, Mich.) assisted on the play.
Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) kicked out 25 shots in the win for the U.S., while Adam Werner made 50 saves for Sweden in the loss.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team returns to United States Hockey League action next weekend when it faces Chicago (Feb. 14) and Indiana (Feb. 16). Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST and 3:30 p.m. respectively at the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Ice Cube.