SOCHI, Russia – Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif.) stopped all 28 shots he faced, as the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team blanked Sweden, 4-0, here this evening at Shayba Arena in the quarterfinal round at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Men’s World Championship. Team USA moves on to the semifinals against the winner of Germany/Russia.
“We knew that we’d have to be at our very best facing a talented Sweden team,” said Don Granato, head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Team. “Our goal is to get stronger and stronger each game. We’re happy with the performance today, but will continue to work hard tomorrow.”
Team USA opened scoring at 13:14 of the first frame on the power play. Will Butcher (Sun Prairie, Wis.) sent a shot wide of the net that caromed back to him just inside the blue line. Butcher blasted a shot past Swedish netminder Jonas Johansson for the goal. Tommy Vannelli (Minnetonka, Minn.) and Evan Allen(Sterling Heights, Mich.) earned assists on the play. The U.S. lead doubled when Hudson Fasching(Burnsville, Minn.) found Tyler Motte (St. Clair, Mich.), who put the puck under Johansson and into the net.
The U.S. found itself shorthanded on several occassions in the second stanza, including two extended 5-on-3 situations. Demko stood tall in net, blocking all eight shots he faced and the U.S. was successful in negating Sweden’s power-play opportunities to hold onto a 2-0 lead heading into the final frame. Team USA outshot Sweden, 20-8, in the period.
Skating on the power play, Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.) entered the zone and dropped a pass back to Michael McCarron (Macomb, Mich.). McCarron wristed a shot past Johansson at 6:50 for the score. Down three goals, Sweden pulled its netminder at the 13:06 mark. With an empty net, J.T. Compher(Northbrook, Ill.) iced the game at 15:08. Demko turned aside 12 shots in the period and 28 total in the victory for Team USA.
The U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team will face the winner of the Germany/Russia game on Friday (April 26) at 8 p.m. local time (12 p.m. EDT), at the Bolshoy Ice Dome. The semifinal round game will be streamed live on FASTHockey.com. Team USA’s complete schedule can be found below.