The United States Under-18 Men’s Select Team dropped a 6-1 decision to Sweden today in its opening game at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.
“I thought the effort was there and we had a good start, but we let them back into the game with all the penalties,” said U.S. head coach Clark Donatelli. “Sweden ended up with four power-play goals and a short-handed goal, so overall, our special teams have got to be better. We’ve got to clean a few things up and stay out of the penalty box.”
Things looked bright for the U.S. early, especially when Philippe Lapointe (Burr Ridge, Ill.) converted a rebound of Ryder Donovan’s (Duluth, Minn.) backhand shot to make it 1-0 at 14:11 of the first period, but it was all Sweden after that.
A U.S. penalty for gloving the puck at 12:54 of the second period led to Lukas Wernblom’s power-play goal that evened the score at 1-1. The U.S. earned a power play of its own less than a minute later, but a misplay in the defensive zone handed the puck to a wide-open Marcus Westfalt, who blasted a one-timer past Isaiah Saville (Anchorage, Alaska) to give Sweden its first lead.
Two more U.S. penalties, including one for inadvertently shooting the puck out of play on a short-handed clearing attempt, led to a second power-play goal for Sweden at 18:48, then at 19:09, with another delayed penalty coming to the U.S., Filip Johansson scored to make it 4-1.
The deficit was too much for Team USA to overcome.
The 16-year-old Saville, who stopped 36 shots and helped extinguish six Swedish power plays, was named U.S. Player of the Game.
Sweden finished 4-for-10 on the power play; the U.S. was 0-for-3.
Team USA (0-1) will look to regroup tomorrow against Switzerland at 3:30 p.m. local time / 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time. That game, and all U.S. games during the Hlinka Cup, will be live streamed at hokejkatv.cz.
Follow the U.S. Under-18 Men’s Select Team every step of the way at TeamUSA.USAHockey.com.