SUNDSVALL, Sweden - Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) scored twice and added two assists as the U.S. National Under-18 Team defeated Sweden, 6-4, here this evening at Energi Arena. With the win, Team USA closes out the 2014 Under-18 Four Nations Tournament undefeated at 3-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L), earning first-place honors.
Sweden tallied the game's first goal midway through the opening period, converting on the power play. Less than a minute later, Team USA answered. Banking the puck of the side of the net, Matthews gathered his own pass, skated out front and roofed it top left corner for the score. Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) assisted. The back-and-forth battle continued as Sweden struck 15 seconds after Matthews' goal to regain the lead, 2-1. The United States knotted the game at 12:58 while skating with the man advantage. Matthews found Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) along the right goal line. Roslovic then connected with a streaking Grant Gabriele (Brighton, Mich.) who one-timed the puck into the net. Sweden's second power-play marker put the U.S. down, 3-2, heading into the intermission.
Christian Evers (Waukee, Iowa) tied the score, 3-3, sending a shot through traffic and past Swedish netminder Adam Werner at 7:43 of the second stanza. Nicholas Boka (Plymouth, Mich.) assisted on the equalizer. The U.S. staked its first lead at 15:28 when Roslovic lit the lamp. With the puck behind the net drawing several skaters' attention, Roslovic was left alone in front and beat Werner with a shot. Matthews and Tkachuk assisted on the go-ahead goal.
Team USA pushed its lead to two goals 1:44 into the third period. Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) skated into the offensive zone and dropped the puck back to a trailing Colin White (Hanover, Mass.). White snapped a shot past Werner for the tally. Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.) also assisted. Twenty-four seconds later, Sweden countered to climb back to within one goal. Team USA's sixth goal came at 9:44 when Matthews cut across the crease and backhanded a shot into the cage. Roslovic and Caleb Jones (Frisco, Texas) assisted. The U.S. would be tasked to kill off an extended 5-on-3 opportunity for Sweden midway through the frame and did so to preserve its two-goal advantage. Sweden pulled Werner in favor of the extra attacker in the closing moments, but did not score and Team USA skated away with a 6-4 win.
Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) made the start in net for Team USA, making 21 saves. Werner was between the pipes for Sweden, stopping 38 of 44 shots against.
Team USA outshot Sweden, 44-25 ... The U.S. went 1-5 on the power play while Sweden went 2-5 ... Team USA outscored its opposition, 21-6 ... Auston Matthews led all skaters in the tournament with nine points (3-6) in three games ... Jack Roslovic ranked tied for third with seven points, including a tournament best four goals. Jeremy Bracco also had seven points, all assists ... Grant Gabriele, Matthews and Roslovic were tops in plus-minus rating, each earning a +6. Gabriele also led all defensemen with three points (2-1) ... Follow @USANTDP on Twitter for post-tournament coverage ... 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 competed against teams from Finland, Sweden and Switzerland in the round-robin tournament ... The United States has now won seven of the last eight 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's (Downers Grove, Ill.) U.S. National Under-18 squads have claimed first both times he's been behind the bench (2012, 2014).
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