Photo by Rena Laverty
ROMANSHORN, Switzerland – Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) and Kamil Bednarik (Elmhurst, Ill.) led the way with two goals apiece as the U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated Sweden, 8-2, Thursday afternoon inside EZO Eissportzentrum Oberthurgau in their first round robin game of the U17 Four Nations Tournament.
Team USA got on the board early, 5:32 into play, off the blade of Lucas Van Vliet (Livonia, Mich.). After a defensive-zone draw, Brendan McMorrow (Lakeville, Minn.) wrangled the puck and skated up ice with Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) who was barreling towards the slot. McMorrow fed the puck his way and a quick spin pass by Plante hit Van Vliet all alone to push it past Sweden's starting netminder Hugo Laring.
Sweden tied things up 3:14 later right as their power play expired, as Oscar Davidsson netted from the faceoff dot.
The first looked to be coming to a stalemate, but Shane Vansaghi (St. Louis, Mo.) put Team USA up with 2:10 left in the period. James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) won the draw and snapped it to Eiserman who dropped it to defenseman Sam Laurila (Moorhead, Minn.). Laurila put it on goal and the hand-eye coordination from Vansaghi shined as he redirected the puck into the net. Sweden gave one push in the last minute, but U.S. starting netminder Jack Parsons (Cortland, N.Y.) made a pair of saves to keep it 2-1.
The U.S. was quick to extend their lead in the middle stanza as time expired on the team's penalty. With the puck on the stick of Bednarik, he sped down the ice and dashed towards the slot prior to ripping a shot over Laring's blocker, :17 seconds in.
Eiserman got in on the scoring to put Team USA up by three goals with just under 15:00 to go in the period. Vansaghi set up a rebound chance for Eiserman which initially got saved, but the puck pinballed off a few Swedish defenders and found the back of the net.
The U.S. tallied two more goals in the span of 1:35 to open the third with Eiserman and Bednarik both nabbing their second of the game, both coming on the power play. Eiserman went back-and-forth with Cole Hutson (Barrington, Ill.) before Eiserman unleashed a strong shot that whizzed past the netminder. Bednarik cleaned up a rebound to give the U.S. more cushion, now up 6-1, prior to Sweden netting their second of the game to make it a four-goal game.
Hutson and Stiga closed the game out with one of their own to help the U17s to their 8-2 win.
Parsons started in net for Team USA and stopped 24 shots.
The Under-17 Team continues round robin play at the U17 Four Nations Tournament tomorrow (Dec. 16) against Slovakia at 8:00 a.m. ET. Friday’s game can be streamed free here along with live stats available here.