FÜSSEN, Germany - Team USA netted five power-play goals as the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team bested Germany, 8-3, here tonight at Bundesleis Arena. The contest was the first of two pre-tournament games leading up to the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's Under-18 World Championship.
Germany tallied the game’s first goal early in the opening period. Thirteen seconds after Team USA came out of the penalty box, a turnover in front of Luke Opilka’s (St. Louis, Mo.) crease led to the backhand score. Team USA struck on the power play when Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale, Ill.) combined to set up Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.) on the doorstep for the tip in. The Germans regained the lead at the 13:40 mark.
A shorthanded tally by Germany at 6:49 put the U.S. down 3-1 early in the second stanza. After winning the face off in their offensive zone, Germany rocketed a slapshot through traffic and into the net. Team USA answered on its second power-play marker of the night, when Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.) redirected a shot to light the lamp. Charles McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y.) had the initial blast and Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) also collected an assist on the play. Matthew Tkachuk’s (St. Louis, Mo.) wrap-around goal tied the game, 3-3, with 4:28 left in the second period. Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) and Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) collected helpers on the equalizer.
Team USA reeled off five-straight goals in the third to distance themselves from Germany and claim the victory. Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) potted the eventual game winner 20 seconds into the final frame. Bracco registered the lone assist. A Fitzgerald slapshot found the back of the net midway through the frame to send the U.S. up 5-3. The power-play marker, Team USA’s third, was assisted on by White and Fischer. Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.) scored his first of two on the night at 7:02 on the power play. Matthews and Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill.) assisted. Floodstrand sprung Terry for a breakaway score at 4:18. Nicholas Boka (Plymouth, Mich.) also earned a helper. Team USA’s fifth power-play, scored by Kunin, closed scoring and gave the U.S. an 8-3 win. Bracco surveyed the ice from behind the net before hitting Kunin with a pass for the goal. Matthews earned the other assist.
Opilka started for Team USA and made 10 saves on 13 shots in 30:25 of action and Evan Sarthou (Black Diamond, Wash.) saw six shots and made all six saves in 29:35.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team will travel to the site of the IIHF Under-18 World Championship, Lucerne, Switzerland, tomorrow before taking on Finland in its second and final pre-tournament tilt on Monday, April 13. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
Team USA outshot Germany, 45-19 ... The U.S. went 5-8 on the power play while Germany went 0-6 ... For a complete U.S. roster, click here ... The U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team is led by Don Granato, serving as head coach at his second IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship. Granato is currently in his fourth season as one of two head coaches at USA Hockey's National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan ... Twenty-two players on the U.S. roster come from USA Hockey's NTDP. Goaltender Evan Sarthou skated for the Western Hockey League's Tri-City Americans this winter ... Team USA's roster includes 20 players born in 1997 and three from the 1998 birth year. Defenseman Steven Ruggiero (Kings Park, N.Y.), born Jan. 1, 1997, is the oldest player on Team USA, while goaltender Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.), born Dec. 18, 1998, is the youngest ... Thirteen different states are represented on the roster. New York leads the way with five skaters, while Illinois and Missouri boast three each ... The U.S. enters the tournament having captured a record 11-consecutive medals, including gold medals in five of the last six years (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014) ... Team USA has won eight gold medals all-time, the most of any country in IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship history. The event began in 1999. Team USA earned its first gold medal in 2002 ... The U.S. will play in Group A alongside Germany, Russia, Slovakia and Sweden ... All Team USA tournament games, including the medal round, will be streamed live, free of charge on USAHockey.FASTHockey.com ... Follow @USAHockeyScores on Twitter for live scoring updates during the tournament. Scores will be designated with the #U18Worlds tag ... For additional coverage, visit the NTDP Facebook page and follow @USANTDP on Twitter ... The U.S. National Under-18 Team trains with The Hockey IntelliGym, a software program that trains hockey sense. Visit USAHockeyIntelliGym.com for more information.
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