KOVLAND, Sweden - Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) notched the game-winning goal with four seconds remaining and added two assists as the U.S. National Under-18 Team a 4-3 victory over Sweden here today at Anashallen Arena. The pre-tournament contest precedes the 2014 Under-18 Four Nations Tournament.
Sweden struck first at 8:39 of the opening frame, scoring a shorthanded goal. Team USA managed 13 shots on net in the period, but could not solve Swedish netminder Daniel Marmenlind and trailed by one tally heading into the first intermission.
A five-on-three opportunity for Sweden led to their second goal at 5:48 of the second stanza. Just over two minutes later, Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) cut the U.S. deficit in half. Grant Gabriele (Brighton, Mich.) and Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.) earned assists on the play. Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) then knotted the game, 2-2, on the power play, but 1:13 later Sweden regained its one-goal advantage. Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) and Bracco assisted on White's tally. Special teams again proved pivotal as Luke Kunin's (Chesterfield, Mo.) power-play marker tied the contest once more. Bracco and Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.) recorded assists.
The only goal of the third period came off the stick of Bracco to send the U.S. away victorious, 4-3.
Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) made the start for Team USA and made 32 saves in the win. Marmenlind and Adam Werner split time in net for Sweden, combining to stop 35 shots in the loss.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team opens tournament play versus Finland on Friday (Nov. 7) in Sundsvall, Sweden. Puck drop is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. EST at Energi Arena. The game will be streamed live here on a pay-per-view basis.
Team USA outshot Sweden, 39-35 ... The U.S. went 2-7 on the power play while Sweden went 1-8 ... The official tournament website can be found here ... Tournament games will be broadcast live online here, on a pay-per-view basis ... Follow @USANTDP and @USAHockeyScores on Twitter for tournament updates and join the conversation on social media by using #4NationsU18 ... The roster is made up entirely of members of the 2014-15 U.S. National Under-18 Team, part of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program based in Ann Arbor, Michigan ... The U.S. squad will compete against teams from Finland, Sweden and Switzerland in the round-robin tournament ... The United States has won six of the last seven Under-18 Four Nations Tournaments, including the 2012 event, which was played at the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Ice Cube, home of the NTDP ... Don Granato (Downers Grove, Ill.) is leading the U.S. National Under-18 Team for the second time in the event, having previously coached the U.S. to a first-place finish in 2012. Joining Granato on the bench will be assistant coach Nick Fohr (Grand Forks, N.D.).
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