Photo by Bob Frid / Hockey Canada Images
DELTA, British Columbia – The U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated Sweden, 8-3, Saturday night inside the Sungod Arena at the 2022 World U-17 Hockey Challenge for their third-straight international win. A four-goal second period, along with 53 total shots, highlighted the Team USA come-from-behind victory. The U.S. was led by a pair of goals from Charlie Pardue (Winnetka, Ill.) and Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.)
Sweden started the game quickly and tallied their first goal :21 seconds into play. Sweden's Viggo Nordlund sent a backhand pass towards Melvin Fernstrom in the slot who finished it off.
Nearly eight minutes ticked on the clock before Team USA answered with Dakoda Rheaume-Mullen (Northville, Mich.) potting his first of the tournament. After the puck was dumped into the offensive zone, Noah Lapointe (Hinsdale, Ill.) chipped it along the boards to Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.) who rang it along the boards to Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.). Plante, from the goal line, sent a pass over to Rheaume-Mullen on the opposing wing and tied things up.
Sweden answered though and broke the tie at the 11:46 mark after Wille Magnertoft fed it from the slot to Mans Toresson for the goal. Team USA nearly tied it back up five minutes later after a Lucas Van Vliet (Livonia, Mich.) one-timer caused a scramble in front as multiple Team USA players crashed the crease. Sweden's starting netminder Axel Nyman was able to freeze the puck and keep his team in the lead.
However, during four-on-four play with under three minutes to play, Eiserman tallied his sixth goal of the tournament to tie the game. Cole Hutson (Barrington, Ill.) fed Eiserman skating towards the blue line and skated with the puck into the attacking zone. eiserman then dangled around a Swedish defender before pushing it across the goal line to tie things up going into the locker room.
It was an exhilarating second period for Team USA as the team scored four and outshot Sweden 15-7. EJ Emery (Compton, Calif.) got things started early on, 6:04 into the period, after he and Brendan McMorrow (Lakeville, Minn.) generated a two-on-one. McMorrow sauced the puck over to Emery who netted his first of the tournament and also his first of the season.
Shane Vansaghi (St. Louis, Mo.) got in on the action as time expired on a Team USA penalty. McMorrow once again got an apple on the scoresheet, giving the puck to Vansaghi, who went backhand five-hole to extend the U.S. lead to two, 8:43 into the frame. Team USA's captain of the tournament, Pardue rang up his first goal of the tourney after he patiently handled the puck into the zone and fired one past Nyman with 7:02 to go.
The fourth U.S. goal of the period came on the power play off the blade of Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.). The extra attacker gave the U.S. room to deliver tic-tac-toe passing around the zone before Plante found Humphreys with an open net to work with.
Sweden looked to start a comeback in the third as the team cut their deficit to three, 7:35 into the frame, but Pardue quickly made it a four-goal game once again. Plante executed a fake shot turned pass to Pardue in the shot who sent it home to make it 7-3 almost three minutes after Sweden's tally.
Eiserman scored his second of the game on the power play with 8:16 remaining after he tee'd up a one-timer blast after a no-look pass from Hutson to make it the 8-3 final.
Nick Kempf (Morton Grove, Ill.) started in net for Team USA and stopped 22 shots.
The Under-17 Team have Sunday off before they return to preliminary round play Monday (Nov. 7) against Canada Red. Puck drop is set for 10:00 p.m. ET and can be streamed live here.