Sunday, November 08, 2009

USA Under-18s win Four Nations Cup

Nick Shore
scored a pair of goals in the first period as the U.S. National Under-18 Team dropped Switzerland, 3-2, tonight in the finale of the 2009 Under-18 Four Nations Cup in Pori, Finland.

Team USA finished with a perfect 3-0-0-0 record to capture the tournament title.

"This was a good week for us," said Kurt Kleinendorst, head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Team. "Playing three games in three nights is always tough. Switzerland battled hard the whole way tonight, but we did what we had to do to win. We're definitely happy to come out of this tournament on top."

Switzerland stunned the U.S. just 10 seconds into the game when Joel Vermin put the puck past Andy Iles. Just 13 seconds after falling behind, 1-0, Jason Zucker's feed from behind the net found Shore who fired the puck into the top corner to knot the score. In a similar style as Team USA's first goal, Brandon Saad's pass from behind the Finland cage found Shore who put the puck past netminder Dennis Saikkonen at 12:06 to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead.

With just seven seconds to play in a hotly contested second stanza, Stephen Johns collected a rebound in front of the net and slid the puck to Charlie Coyle, who wired a shot past Saikkonen from the high slot to give Team USA a 3-1 advantage.

Switzerland battled hard throughout the third period and was able to get back within a goal when Kaj Leuenberger scored with just 3:49 to play in regulation. Iles and the defensive unit held strong the rest of the way, however, to allow Team USA to earn the 3-2 victory.

Iles made 22 saves to earn his second win of the tournament.

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