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USA White, Sweden victorious in Day 1 of World Junior Summer Showcase

by Ryan J. Harr

7/29/17



PLYMOUTH, Mich. – Team USA White doubled up Finland 4-2 while USA Blue fell late versus Team Sweden at USA Hockey Arena in the opening contests of the 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase on Saturday.

Team USA White was led by Evan Barratt (CHI, 2017), Max Gerlach (2018 Draft Eligible) and Casey Mittelstadt (BUF, 2017) as the trio each had a two-point outings, recording a goal and an assist. Jack Badini (ANA, 2017) rounded out the scoring while goaltender Dylan St. Cyr (2018 Draft Eligible) earned the win, making 18 saves in 28:32 of relief.

Kasper Kotkansalo (DET, 2017) and Janne Kuokkanen (CAR, 2016) each netted a goal for Finland while netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (BUF, 2017), took the loss despite stopping 18 of the 22 shots he faced.



With the score tied after 40 minutes of play, Gerlach gave the Americans a 3-2 lead as he took a pass from Ivan Lodnia (MIN, 2017) in between the faceoff dots in the Finnish zone. Gerlach faked a shot as he tucked around the cage and banked a shot off a Finn player to give the USA White squad a one-goal lead just 1:23 into the final period.

Less than 11 minutes later, Mittelstadt gave the red, white and blue a two-goal cushion when he picked up a loose puck following a turnover just inside the offensive zone. The first-round selection of the Sabres in the 2017 NHL Draft skated in all alone on Luukkonen and roofed a shot over top of the glove-hand to push the USA lead to 4-2 with 7:13 to play.

“It is near the end July so that means it is getting closer to the start of hockey season. It felt good to knock off some of the rust,” Mittelstadt said. “I personally want to get better with each game here over the course of the week so it was a good start to the week with the win.”

Despite being outshot 15-7 over the course of the final 20 minutes of regulation, Team USA White held on for the victory in the first game of the day.

Sixty-five seconds into the opening period, Mittelstadt, scooped up a loose puck to the left of the Luukkonen and appeared to be going behind the net. But he sent a backhanded pass to Barratt, who was crashing towards the net. In on motion, he kicked the puck with his foot to his blade of his stick before depositing it into the net just past the blocker of the Finland netminder to give the USA White the one-nothing lead.

“Casey really had his feet going,” USA White head coach Bob Motzko said. “He made some big time plays all game long for us and that is exactly what you want to see from players who have the ability to do that.”

Finland tied the contest at one thanks to a heavy shot from Kotkansalo at the 8:36 mark of the opening period. The defenseman he ripped a shot that caromed off the post and behind Jake Oettinger (DAL, 2017) from the right point. Oettinger started the contest for USA White and made 10 saves in 31:01.

Each team drew a pair of penalties following the tallies and they entered the dressing rooms tied at one as Finland held a slim eight-seven shot advantage.

Less than seven minutes into the middle stanza, Gerlach skated through the neutral zone near the wall on his way into the Finn zone. The forward left the disc for Badini just inside the attacking end. Badini took a few strides before sniping a shot over the left shoulder of a screened Luukkonen to give USA White a 2-1 lead with 13:10 left in the second frame.

The Americans took penalties in succession but Finland was unable to capitalize with the man advantage. However, Kuokkanen tied the contest 10 seconds following the second infraction as he roofed a shot over the left shoulder of St. Cyr, who replaced Oettinger with 8:59 left in the second period.

The teams went into the intermission break knotted at two but USA White scored a pair of goals during the final frame to earn the 4-2 win.


Team Sweden posts 3 unanswered goals in win over USA Blue

Sweden overcame a pair of two-goal deficits to pick up a 4-3 win in the first day of the showcase.

Jesper Bratt (NJD, 2016) recorded a multi-goal effort (2+0) while Fredrick Karlstrom (DAL, 2016) and Timothy Liljegren (TOR, 2017) each added a goal and an assist. Flilip Gustavsson (DET, 2016) stopped 20 of 23 shots he faced to picked up the win.

Team USA Blue was led by Riley Tufte (DAL, 2016) as he recorded an assist on each of Sean Dhooghe (2018 Draft Eligible) and Brady Tkachuk’s (2018 Draft Eligible) goal. Keith Petruzzelli (DET, 2017) made 18 saves in the blue paint but took the loss.

The USA Blue squad drew two Swedish penalties less than five minutes into the contest and wasted little time to capitalize on the man advantage when Tkachuk redirected a shot into the net with 3:01 left in the opening frame.

Less than 90 seconds later USA Blue doubled its lead to 2-0 when Dhooghe blasted a shot from the left faceoff dot that glazed the bottom of the crossbar on its way into the net. The USA Blue club carried the two-goal lead into the break.

The Swedes cut into the two-goal deficit when Bratt scored his first of his two on the afternoon at 7:42 mark of the second period but the Americans responded with Cockerill’s redirection tally with less than five minutes left in the middle period.

USA Blue however did not make things any easier on themselves after taking a slashing infraction with 2:31 to play in the sandwich frame. Sweden needed only 20 seconds before Bratt again cut the Americans lead in half as he danced around a defender and on his way to slipping a forehand shot past the right leg of Petruzzelli.

Sweden came out of the intermission break and continued to press the U.S over the final period and were rewarded twice late in the contest.

With a faceoff to the left of the USA Blue net, Lias Andersson (NYR, 2017) won the draw back to Rasmus Dahlin (2018 Draft Eligible) and he set up Liljegren for a one-timer. The defenseman rifled a shot that made it three-unanswered goals for the Swedes and evened the score with 4:29 left in the tilt.

It appeared the contest was about to head into an overtime session but an errant pass from an American defender from below the goal line set up Karlstrom.

The forward flung a wrist shot towards the net and nicked off a sprawling American player into to the cage with less than 10 seconds left to give the Swedes a 4-3 victory.


About the World Junior Summer Showcase

This is the second consecutive year that USA Hockey Arena has hosted the World Junior Summer Showcase, which features some of the top players under the age of 20 from four nations - the U.S., Canada, Finland and Sweden - auditioning for a spot to represent their country in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will take place Dec. 26, 2017 through Jan. 5, 2018 in Buffalo. In total, the week-long World Junior Summer Showcase will include 12 international competitions between the U.S., Canada, Finland and Sweden.

USA White, Sweden victorious in Day 1 of World Junior Summer Showcase

by Ryan J. Harr

7/29/17



PLYMOUTH, Mich. – Team USA White doubled up Finland 4-2 while USA Blue fell late versus Team Sweden at USA Hockey Arena in the opening contests of the 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase on Saturday.

Team USA White was led by Evan Barratt (CHI, 2017), Max Gerlach (2018 Draft Eligible) and Casey Mittelstadt (BUF, 2017) as the trio each had a two-point outings, recording a goal and an assist. Jack Badini (ANA, 2017) rounded out the scoring while goaltender Dylan St. Cyr (2018 Draft Eligible) earned the win, making 18 saves in 28:32 of relief.

Kasper Kotkansalo (DET, 2017) and Janne Kuokkanen (CAR, 2016) each netted a goal for Finland while netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (BUF, 2017), took the loss despite stopping 18 of the 22 shots he faced.



With the score tied after 40 minutes of play, Gerlach gave the Americans a 3-2 lead as he took a pass from Ivan Lodnia (MIN, 2017) in between the faceoff dots in the Finnish zone. Gerlach faked a shot as he tucked around the cage and banked a shot off a Finn player to give the USA White squad a one-goal lead just 1:23 into the final period.

Less than 11 minutes later, Mittelstadt gave the red, white and blue a two-goal cushion when he picked up a loose puck following a turnover just inside the offensive zone. The first-round selection of the Sabres in the 2017 NHL Draft skated in all alone on Luukkonen and roofed a shot over top of the glove-hand to push the USA lead to 4-2 with 7:13 to play.

“It is near the end July so that means it is getting closer to the start of hockey season. It felt good to knock off some of the rust,” Mittelstadt said. “I personally want to get better with each game here over the course of the week so it was a good start to the week with the win.”

Despite being outshot 15-7 over the course of the final 20 minutes of regulation, Team USA White held on for the victory in the first game of the day.

Sixty-five seconds into the opening period, Mittelstadt, scooped up a loose puck to the left of the Luukkonen and appeared to be going behind the net. But he sent a backhanded pass to Barratt, who was crashing towards the net. In on motion, he kicked the puck with his foot to his blade of his stick before depositing it into the net just past the blocker of the Finland netminder to give the USA White the one-nothing lead.

“Casey really had his feet going,” USA White head coach Bob Motzko said. “He made some big time plays all game long for us and that is exactly what you want to see from players who have the ability to do that.”

Finland tied the contest at one thanks to a heavy shot from Kotkansalo at the 8:36 mark of the opening period. The defenseman he ripped a shot that caromed off the post and behind Jake Oettinger (DAL, 2017) from the right point. Oettinger started the contest for USA White and made 10 saves in 31:01.

Each team drew a pair of penalties following the tallies and they entered the dressing rooms tied at one as Finland held a slim eight-seven shot advantage.

Less than seven minutes into the middle stanza, Gerlach skated through the neutral zone near the wall on his way into the Finn zone. The forward left the disc for Badini just inside the attacking end. Badini took a few strides before sniping a shot over the left shoulder of a screened Luukkonen to give USA White a 2-1 lead with 13:10 left in the second frame.

The Americans took penalties in succession but Finland was unable to capitalize with the man advantage. However, Kuokkanen tied the contest 10 seconds following the second infraction as he roofed a shot over the left shoulder of St. Cyr, who replaced Oettinger with 8:59 left in the second period.

The teams went into the intermission break knotted at two but USA White scored a pair of goals during the final frame to earn the 4-2 win.


Team Sweden posts 3 unanswered goals in win over USA Blue

Sweden overcame a pair of two-goal deficits to pick up a 4-3 win in the first day of the showcase.

Jesper Bratt (NJD, 2016) recorded a multi-goal effort (2+0) while Fredrick Karlstrom (DAL, 2016) and Timothy Liljegren (TOR, 2017) each added a goal and an assist. Flilip Gustavsson (DET, 2016) stopped 20 of 23 shots he faced to picked up the win.

Team USA Blue was led by Riley Tufte (DAL, 2016) as he recorded an assist on each of Sean Dhooghe (2018 Draft Eligible) and Brady Tkachuk’s (2018 Draft Eligible) goal. Keith Petruzzelli (DET, 2017) made 18 saves in the blue paint but took the loss.

The USA Blue squad drew two Swedish penalties less than five minutes into the contest and wasted little time to capitalize on the man advantage when Tkachuk redirected a shot into the net with 3:01 left in the opening frame.

Less than 90 seconds later USA Blue doubled its lead to 2-0 when Dhooghe blasted a shot from the left faceoff dot that glazed the bottom of the crossbar on its way into the net. The USA Blue club carried the two-goal lead into the break.

The Swedes cut into the two-goal deficit when Bratt scored his first of his two on the afternoon at 7:42 mark of the second period but the Americans responded with Cockerill’s redirection tally with less than five minutes left in the middle period.

USA Blue however did not make things any easier on themselves after taking a slashing infraction with 2:31 to play in the sandwich frame. Sweden needed only 20 seconds before Bratt again cut the Americans lead in half as he danced around a defender and on his way to slipping a forehand shot past the right leg of Petruzzelli.

Sweden came out of the intermission break and continued to press the U.S over the final period and were rewarded twice late in the contest.

With a faceoff to the left of the USA Blue net, Lias Andersson (NYR, 2017) won the draw back to Rasmus Dahlin (2018 Draft Eligible) and he set up Liljegren for a one-timer. The defenseman rifled a shot that made it three-unanswered goals for the Swedes and evened the score with 4:29 left in the tilt.

It appeared the contest was about to head into an overtime session but an errant pass from an American defender from below the goal line set up Karlstrom.

The forward flung a wrist shot towards the net and nicked off a sprawling American player into to the cage with less than 10 seconds left to give the Swedes a 4-3 victory.


About the World Junior Summer Showcase

This is the second consecutive year that USA Hockey Arena has hosted the World Junior Summer Showcase, which features some of the top players under the age of 20 from four nations - the U.S., Canada, Finland and Sweden - auditioning for a spot to represent their country in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will take place Dec. 26, 2017 through Jan. 5, 2018 in Buffalo. In total, the week-long World Junior Summer Showcase will include 12 international competitions between the U.S., Canada, Finland and Sweden.