Photo by Rena Laverty
CHOMUTOV, Czech Republic - The U.S. National Under-18 Team fell to Finland, 3-1, Sunday evening in the Five Nations championship game at Rocknet Arena in the Czech Republic.
Team USA finished the tournament with a 2-1-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record and second place out of the five competing countries.
Finland's Aatu Raty scored the only goal of the game's first 40 minutes with a redirection shot at 7:28 of the second period.
Sweden made it 2-0 early in the third period on a back-door tap-in goal from Kasper Simontaival.
USA defenseman Jake Sanderson (Whitefish, Mont.) put the U18s on the board with an absolute missile of a slap-shot on a 5-on-3 advantage. Matthew Beniers (Hingham, Mass.) and Thomas Bordeleau (Houston, Texas) played catch below the goal-line before Bordeleau fed Sanderson for the one-timer and his third goal of the tournament to make it a 2-1 game with just over six minutes to play.
With USA attacking and the goaltender pulled late in the game, Finland netted an empty-netter for the 3-1 final.
The U18s outshot Finland by a 33-18 margin on the game.
Drew Commesso (Norwell, Mass.) finished the contest with 16 saves on 18 attempts for Team USA.
Sanderson was selected as Team USA's Player of the Game.
The U18s return to the ice stateside with a USHL matchup on Thursday, Feb. 20 against the Dubuque Fighting Saints at USA Hockey Arena.