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U18s Fall to Host Finland, 5-2

By USA Hockey's NTDP, 02/11/23, 2:15PM EST


Team plays Czechia tomorrow with a chance for tournament championship

EURAJOKI, Finland - The U.S. National Under-18 Team outshot Finland by a 33-21 margin, but could not find the scoreboard as often in a 5-2 loss to the Finns Saturday evening at Westinghouse Arena in Eurajoki. 

The U.S. garnered the first big scoring opportunity of the game when Danny Nelson (Maple Grove, Minn.) got in behind the defense midway through the first period, but his shot was gloved by Finnish netminder Noa Vali, who made 17 stops in the opening 20 minutes.

Box Score

The host country ended up cracking the scoreboard first as Rasmus Kumpulainen cleaned up a rebound and fired in for a 1-0 lead at 17:12 of the game. 

Finland used an early second period power play to extend their lead to 2-0. Jesse Kiiskinen converted on a 2-on-1 off a cross-crease feed from Jesse Nurmi. 

Two and a half minutes later, Kiiskinen drove the length of the ice and roofed a wrister from the right circle for his second of the game and a 3-0 Finn advantage that would hold through to the second intermission. 

Salvatore Guzzo (Old Tappan, N.J.) put the U.S. on the board with a greasy goal midway through the period. Austin Burnevik (Blaine, Minn.) fed Kai Janviriya (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) for the initial shot from the point. Guzzo worked his way through a sea of bodies to find the rebound and flip it in to cut the lead to 3-1.

Team USA pulled within a goal just over a minute later when Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) finished off a sweet deke in front of the net. Gabe Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill.) dug the puck out behind the goal line and hit a cutting Leonard, who moved Vali out of position before he finished with the backhand for his second goal in two tournament games. 

That was as far back as the U.S. could pull as Janne Peltonen restored the Finns' two-goal lead 90 seconds later and Konsta Helenius capped the game's scoring with a late power-play tally for the 5-2 final. 

The U18s will finish tournament play tomorrow as they take on Czechia. Depending on the outcome of the earlier Finland-Sweden game, the U.S. could still win the tournament championship. Puck drop is set for 12:00 p.m. ET back at Kivikyla Arena in Rauma, Finland. 

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