U.S. National Under-18 Team Wins Bronze Medal
KAZAN, Russia - Four different players recorded multi-point performances and netminder Brandon Maxwell (Winter Park, Fla.) turned aside 42 of the 45 shots he faced to lift the the U.S. National Under-18 Team past Sweden, 6-3, in the bronze medal game of the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation World Under-18 Hockey Championship at Tatneft Arena today.
"We are extremely proud of the commitment and pride our players showed in today's win against Sweden," said John Hynes, head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Team. "Winning the bronze medal is an accomplishment that they can enjoy and take pride in earning."
The Swedes opened up a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at the 14:23 mark of the first period when Victor Hedman unleashed a powerful shot from the point that went through the legs of Maxwell.
Team USA responded with two goals during a span of 16 seconds in the final minute of the period. Ryan Bourque (Boxford, Mass.) netted his third marker of the tournament at 19:10, thanks to an assist from Philip McRae (Chesterfield, Mo.). McRae, who was in the Team USA zone, chipped the puck ahead to Bourque in the neutral zone. Bourque then skated up the right wing on a 2-on-1 break with Jeremy Morin (Auburn, N.Y.), before putting a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle just inside the right post. Robbie Czarnik (Washington, Mich.) notched one his three points in the contest at the 19:26 mark of the frame. After Czarnik took a close-range shot that forced a rebound, Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) slipped the puck back to Czarnik in front of the net. Czarnik beat Swedish goaltender Jacob Markstrom with a quick shot on the glove side.
Czarnik struck again a little over five minutes into the second stanza, as a result of assists from Aaron Ness (Roseau, Minn.) and Kyle Palmieri (Montvale, N.J.). Ness fired the puck from the right point to the slot, where Czarnik blasted a one-timer past Markstrom on the glove side. Morin added his first of two goals in the contest at 7:34 of the period when he pounded in a rebound from the left side of the net. Vinny Saponari (Powder Springs, Ga.) started the play by passing the puck from the right point to Ryan Grimshaw (Rochester, N.Y.) at the point. Grimshaw unloaded a hard shot that Markstrom pushed directly onto Morin's stick.
Later in the middle session, Sweden answered by registering two goals of its own - one at 10:39 and another at 14:22. Henrik Bjorklund threaded a low shot from left of the net by Maxwell, and Martin Lundberg delivered a powerful shot from the left point that beat Maxwell on the glove side.
That was the end up Sweden's scoring for the contest, but the United States tacked on two additional markers. Kristo made it a 5-3 game at the 19:20 mark of the second frame when he wristed a shot from the right circle past Markstrom on the short side, inside the right post. Ness and Czarnik each picked up assists on the goal. Morin contributed Team USA's final goal during another 2-on-1 opportunity at 15:37 of the third period. David Warsofsky (Marshfield, Mass.) hit Jordan Schroeder (Prior Lake, Minn.) breaking up the right wing and Schroeder cycled a pass over to Morin inside the left circle. Morin then rifled a shot by Markstrom's left shoulder, pushing the winger's tournament goal total to six.
Markstrom left the net with 3:22 left in regulation, but the move proved to be fruitless for the Swedes.
For the game, Markstrom finished with 17 saves on 23 shots.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team recorded a 5-2 record at the 2008 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
Notes: Brandon Maxwell was named Team USA's Player of the Game. He finished the tournament with a 4-1 record, along with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage ... Robbie Czarnik (two goals, one assist), Jeremy Morin (two goals), Danny Kristo (one goal, one assist) and Aaron Ness (two assists) each filed multi-point games. Czarnik and Morin led the squad with eight points at the tournament. Morin was Team USA's top goal scorer with six ... David Warsofsky (one assist) paced the United States' defensive corps with seven points, while Ness was second with six ... The United States won a medal for the fifth straight year at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship. No other team has won a medal for more than two consecutive years at the event ... Team USA won the silver medal at the 2007 IIHF World Under-18 Championship and won the gold medal at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship in both 2005 and 2006 to mark the first time in U.S. hockey history that a team has earned back-to-back gold medals at an IIHF event ... The bronze medal was the first-ever won by the United States in the nine-year history of the IIHF World Under-18 Championship ... The United States has won six medals at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship, which ranks second behind only Russia. The Russians have won seven medals in the tournament ... John Hynes improved to 15-3-1 all-time as the head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Team at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship. Team USA has won a medal all three times he has served as the head coach at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship ... The 2008 IIHF World Under-18 Championship features the best athletes under the age of 18 with participating teams including the United States, Belarus, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland ... Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota, will play host to the 2009 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. Tentative dates for the event, pending IIHF approval, are April 9-19, 2009.
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