Team USA celebrates after clinching the 2012 Four Nations Tournament title in Ann Arbor, Mich. Photo by Jonathan Knight.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif.) turned aside 22 shots, as the U.S. National Under-18 Team clinched the 2012 Four Nations Tournament title with a 3-1 victory tonight over Sweden. Team USA finishes the tournament with a 3-0-1-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record.
"I'm proud of how we played as a team throughout the entire tournament," said Don Granato, head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Team. "We need to build off these games and continue to improve as we move forward."
Team USA opened scoring at 8:56 of the first frame on the power play. Positioned at the half boards, Evan Allen (Sterling Heights, Mich.) wristed a shot over an outstretched Ebbe Sionas for the tally. Keaton Thompson (Devils Lake, N.D.) and Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.) assisted on the play. Penalties filled the remainder of the period, but neither team could convert and the U.S. enjoyed a 1-0 advantage heading into the first intermission.
Evan Allen launches a shot on net versus Sweden in the title game. Photo by Jonathan Knight.
The second stanza began with Team USA killing off a five-on-three penalty, in which Tyler Motte (St. Clair, Mich.) blocked two consecutive shots to help keep Sweden off the scoreboard. John Hayden(Greenwich, Conn.) doubled the U.S. lead at 3:51 on the backhand. Connor Clifton (Matawan, N.J.) earned the assist on the goal.
Sweden found the scoresheet at 2:45 of the third period to cut the U.S. lead in half, 2-1. Michael McCarron (Macomb, Mich.) tipped a Will Butcher (Sun Prairie, Wis.) shot past Sionas at 10:52 to regain the two-goal advantage. The power play tally was also assisted on by Trevor Hamilton (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.). Sweden pulled its netminder in favor of the extra attacker, but Team USA held on for the 3-1 victory.
Demko made 22 saves in the win for the U.S., while Sionas turned aside 41 shots in the loss for Sweden.
Team USA will return to United States Hockey League action on Nov. 17, when the U.S. National Under-18 Team travels to Bensenville, Ill., to face the Chicago Steel. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m., EST.
NOTES: Thatcher Demko was named Team USA's Player of the Game ... Lucas Wallmark was named Sweden's Player of the Game ... Team USA outshot Sweden, 44-23 ... The U.S. finished 2-for-7 on the power play, while Sweden went 1-for-9 with the man advantage ... For a complete U.S. National Under-18 Team tournament roster, click here ... The U.S. National Under-18 Team captured first place at the 2011 Under-18 Four Nations Tournament held in Monthey, Switzerland. The U.S. has now claimed the tournament title in five consecutive years (2008-12) ... For additional coverage, visit USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Facebook page and usantdp.com.