Chris Wilkie crosses in front of Maxim Tretiak in Monthey, Switzerland.
MONTHEY, Switzerland - Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.) recorded two goals and two assists, as the U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated Russia, 5-4, in a shootout at the 2012 Under-17 Four Nations Tournament at Patinoire de Monthey. With the win, Team USA improved its record in the tournament to 1-1-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L).
"The guys skated hard and battled all game long," said Danton Cole, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team. "We earned our chance to play for the tournament title tomorrow and will have to give our best effort to beat Switzerland."
Russia found the scoresheet first at 10:20 of the first period on the power play. With 11 seconds remaining in the opening frame, the Russians struck with the man advantage once more, doubling its lead and sending Team USA to the locker room down, 2-0.
Jared Fiegl chops at the puck in front of the Russian net.
The battle of special teams continued in the second stanza as Ryan MacInnis (St. Louis, Mo.) notched a shorthanded tally at 12:38. Bjork assisted on the play. The two forwards would connect again at 19:32, this time on the power play, when Bjork put the puck in the net to tie the game, 2-2. Brandon Fortunato(North Hills, N.Y.) also collected an assist on the score.
Bjork recorded his second goal of the game at 3:04 of the third period to give the U.S. its first lead of the game, 3-2. Joshua Wesley (Raleigh, N.C.) and Jared Fiegl (Parker, Colo.) registered assists. Team USA doubled its lead at 11:38 off a Joe Wegwerth (Brewster, N.Y.) tally. Bjork and Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) earned assists on the marker. Russia responded at 16:19 on the power play to close the gap with the U.S. to one goal. With just 1:24 remaining in the game, another Russian goal knotted the score and sent the game into overtime.
After both teams skated to a draw following the extra five minute period, the game was decided by a shootout. Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.) and Larkin each scored and Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) made two stops to claim the shootout victory.
Minney made 22 saves for the U.S. in the win, while Maxim Tretiak stopped 29 shots for Russia in the loss.
Team USA will conclude tournament play tomorrow (Nov. 11), against Switzerland. Puck drop is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EST at Patinoire de Monthey.
NOTES: Anders Bjork was named Team USA's Player of the Game ... Ilya Zinoviev was named Russia's Player of the Game ... Team USA outshot Russia, 33-26 ... The U.S. finished 3-for-8 on the power play, while Russia went 1-for-7 with the man advantage ... For a complete U.S. National Under-17 Team tournament roster, click here ... The U.S. National Under-17 Team captured first place at the 2011 Under-17 Four Nations Tournament held in Balishikha, Russia. The U.S. has claimed the tournament title in four consecutive years (2008-11) ... FASTHockey.com will provide a live webcast of each game in the tournament ... Follow @USAHockey and @USAHockeyScores on Twitter for live scoring updates during the tournament and join the conversation by using #U17FourNations ... For additional coverage, visit USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Facebook page.
U.S. National Under-17 Team
Anders Bjork, forward (2 goals, 2 assists)
Ilya Zinoviev, forward (1 goal, 1 assist)