BRECLAV, Czech Republic – Ryan Poehling (Lakeville, Minn.) scored three goals to lead the United States Under-18 Select Team to a 4-2 win over Czech Republic and a first-place finish in Group A at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.
“I thought we played exceptional tonight,” said Clark Donatelli (Providence, R.I.), head coach of the 2016 U.S. Under-18 Select Team. “We really elevated our game and executed the game plan. It was one of our best games of the tournament so far.”
With the victory, Team USA marched undefeated through group play at the Hlinka tournament. The U.S. now meets Russia in a semifinal game on Friday (Aug. 12) at 11:30 a.m. ET in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Against the host Czechs, Vanya Lodnia (Novi, Mich.) opened the scoring for the Team USA with a power-play goal at the 8:50 mark of the first period. Lodnia collected a cross-ice pass from Sasha Chmelevski (Northville, Mich.) and poked it past Czech goaltender Tomas Vomacka for the goal. Czech forward Filip Chytil scored 2:22 later to even the score 1-1 after one period.
Poehling then netted his first goal of the game 8:47 into the second period, knocking home a rebound on a shot from Michael Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla.). After the Czechs tied the game 5:51 later with a goal from Ostap Safin, Poehling completed his hat trick by scoring two goals in 63 seconds late in the period to give the U.S. a 4-2 lead.
Goaltender Cayden Primeau (Voorhees, N.J.) made 14 saves in the final period to preserve the 4-2 victory. He made 23 saves overall and improved his record to 2-0 at the Hlinka tournament.
Pastujov finished with three assists for the U.S. (2-1-0-0; W-OTW-OTL-L), while Chmelevski added two. Chmelevski currently stands as the tournament’s leading scorer with seven points (3-4--7) and Poehling is tied for the tournament lead in goals with four.
NOTES: The U.S. competed Group A along with the Czech Republic, Finland and Switzerland … For complete tournament coverage, including Team USA’s roster and statistics, click here … For full game statistics, click here … Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook using #HlinkaMemorial