COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Robert Ruef (Erie, Pa.) recorded four points and Derek Struwing (Bartlett, Ill.) scored two goals as the U.S. Deaflympic Ice Hockey Team defeated Finland, 6-5, today to claim bronze at the 18th Winter Deaflympics in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.
U.S. captain Jim Crane (San Diego, Calif.) opened the scoring just two minutes into the game. Four minutes later, Peter Gintoli (Shelton, Conn.) finished a pass from Ruef to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead.
Struwing’s shorthanded tally 11:31 into the second stanza made it 3-0 for the U.S. Two minutes later, Ruef’s goal gave the U.S. a 4-0 lead before Victor Lindfors responded to make it 4-1.
Finland’s Janne Yrjola connected just :14 into the final frame to cut Team USA’s lead to two. Both teams continued to trade chances until Struwing’s second goal of the game made it 5-2 with 9:37 remaining in the period. Yrjola scored again for Finland two minutes later, but Garrett Gintoli (Shelton, Conn.) gave the U.S. a comfortable 6-3 cushion just 90 seconds later.
Finland made it interesting with two goals in the final three minutes, but fell short of scoring the equalizer as the U.S. captured the bronze medal.
The U.S. outscored its opponents 37-18 over five games and finished the tournament with a 3-0-2 (W-T-L) record.
NOTES: The U.S. outshot Finland, 44-35 … For complete stats, click here … For the complete U.S. roster, click here … For more information on U.S. Deaf Hockey, click here … Jeff Sauer (Madison, Wis.), head coach of the U.S. Deaflympic Ice Hockey Team, also serves as head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team … The U.S. Deaflympic Ice Hockey Team operates under the governance of the USA Deaf Sports Federation.