KRAVARE, Czech Republic - Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) scored two goals and added one assist and goaltender Luke Opilka (St. Louis, Mo.) made 24 saves as the U.S. National Under-18 Team used the shootout to knock off Sweden, 5-4, in its opening game of the 2015 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament here today at Buly Arena.
Goals by Roslovic and Caleb Jones (Frisco, Texas) in the first frame helped the U.S. build a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Roslovic started the scoring by tapping home a power-play goal from the edge of the crease 9:24 into the contest. With the United States set up in the offensive zone, Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) swatted a loose puck out to Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) at the blue line. Masonius settled the pass and quickly fired it toward the net, where it hit a leg in front and popped to the right of the net for Roslovic to slam into the yawning cage. Then, at 12:05, Jones pinched in from the left point and sent a shot past Swedish goaltender Daniel Marmenlind to make it 2-0 USA. Tkachuk and Roslovic earned assists on the play.
The Swedes rallied and scored an early second-period power-play goal to cut the U.S. lead to 2-1, but Brendan Warren (Carleton, Mich.) responded to allow Team USA to retake a two-goal lead. After Tage Thompson (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) left a pass for Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.) just inside the blue line, Kunin wheeled around the outside and fed Warren on the backdoor. Warren one-timed the puck into the corner of the net. Sweden connected for two late goals in the frame to even the score at 3-3 at the second intermission.
Roslovic notched his second of the game from almost the identical spot as his first-period marker just 4:04 into the third stanza. With Team USA on the power play, Charles McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y.) chipped the puck towards the goal. It hit a man in front, trickled right to Roslovic, who turned and shot it off the Swedish netminder to give the U.S. a 4-3 edge. Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) also assisted on the goal. The Swedes managed to tie the game with a goal in the final two minutes of regulation, forcing overtime.
Neither team scored in the five-minute extra session, but Tkachuk and Matthews found the back of the net in the shootout and Opilka stopped both Sweden attempts to clinch the victory for Team USA.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team continues play in the 2015 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament on Friday (Feb. 6) when it takes on Russia. Puck-drop is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET.
Jack Roslovic was named player of the game for the United States ... Team USA outshot Sweden, 37-28 ... The U.S. went 2-for-8 on the power play while Sweden went 2-for-6 ... Follow @USAHockeyScores for live scoring updates from the tournament. Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #U18FiveNations ... Don Granato, head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Team, is leading the squad in the Czech Republic, along with assistant coach Nick Fohr and intern assistant coach J.D. Forrest ... All 22 players on the roster are from USA Hockey's National Team Development Program ... For the complete Under-18 Team roster, click here ... Team USA is the defending champion at the Under-18 Five Nations Tournament and has won the event seven times (1999, 2005, 2007-09, 2011, 2014) ... The U.S. National Under-18 Team trains with The Hockey IntelliGym, a revolutionary software program that trains hockey sense. To learn more, visit USAHockeyIntelliGym.com.
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