LAMBTON SHORES, Ont. - Nick Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla.) scored one goal and added two assists as the U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated Sweden, 6-3, here today at The Shores Recreation Centre. The game was the first of three preliminary-round contests for Team USA at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The U.S. opened the scoring at the 6:45 mark of the first frame when Keeghan Howdeshell (Brighton, Mich.) took the puck away from a Swedish skater in the offensive zone. Howdeshell fired a shot far side and past Gusten Lundh, giving Team USA a 1-0 advantage. Max Jones (Rochester, Mich.) doubled the U.S. lead with time winding down in the period, knocking a rebound into the cage. Patrick Khodorenko (Walnut Creek, Calif.) created the chance, breaking in alone and deking before being stopped by Lundh.
Sweden notched three straight markers in the second stanza to go up over Team USA, 3-2. The first goal, a power-play strike, came off a rebound at 3:57. Sweden scored two-minutes later and struck once more at 12:36 to grab the lead. Off the next face off, Riley Tufte (Ham Lake, Minn.) took the puck behind the net and flipped it back out front to Trent Frederic (St. Louis, Mo.). Frederic beat Lundh to deadlock the score at three. Team USA reclaimed the lead at 15:39 as Khodorenko launched a quick wrister into the net. Ryan Lindgren (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Pastujov earned helpers on the play.
With less than six minutes remaining in the contest, Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill.) gave the Americans a two-goal cushion. Skating along the left sideboards, Keller worked his way around the net and back out to the top of the face-off circle. Keller fired a shot through traffic and past Lundh. Pastujov earned the lone assist and would later add an empty-net goal to seal the victory for Team USA.
Joseph Woll (Dardenne Prairie, Mo.) started in net for Team USA and made 22 saves. Lundh got the nod for Sweden between the pipes and kicked out 28 shots.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team will face Slovakia tomorrow (Nov. 3) at The Shores Recreation Centre. Puck drop is slated for 3 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast live on FASTHockey.com, free of charge.
Max Jones was named U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA outshot Sweden, 34-25 … The Under-17 Team went 1-5 on the power play while Sweden was 1-4 with the man advantage … Ryan Lindgren (Minneapolis, Minn.) served as captain for Team USA ... The preliminary round and quarterfinals will be streamed live on FASTHockey.com and the official tournament website, which can be found here ... The semifinals, third-place game and championship contest will be broadcast live on TSN ... The 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge includes two groups of four teams. Group A features Canada Black, Canada White, Finland and Russia, while Group B includes Canada Red, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States ... Follow @USANTDP and @USAHockeyScores on Twitter for tournament updates ... Danton Cole (Pontiac, Mich.) is leading the U.S. National Under-17 Team for the third time in the tournament, having previously coached the U.S. to a second-place finish in 2011 and a third-place showing in 2013. Joining Cole on the bench is assistant coach John Gruden (Virginia, Minn.), goaltending coach Kevin Reiter (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and intern assistant coach Tyler Walsh (Lansing, Mich.).
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