SOCHI, Russia – Tyler Motte (St. Clair, Mich.) tallied two goals and added an assist, as the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team downed Latvia, 7-1, here this evening at Bolshoy Ice Dome in its third game at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Men’s World Championship. With the victory, Team USA’s record improves to 2-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L).
“We got off to a good start today and earned an important three points in the standings,” said Don Granato, head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Team. “We put ourselves in a good position to play for a high seed in the tournament. Now we have to go out and execute in all areas of the game, for 60 minutes.”
The Americans struck first when Kevin Labanc (Staten Island, N.Y.) one-timed a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle past Kristaps Nazarovs. Keaton Thompson (Devils Lake, N.D.) slid the puck over to Labanc for the score. Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.) doubled the U.S. lead at 6:55, making a series of moves around Latvian defenders before depositing the puck into the net. Gage Ausmus (East Grand Forks, Minn.) collected an assist on the play. Team USA extended its advantage, 3-0, when Michael McCarron (Macomb, Mich.) jammed the puck past the goal line. Kelleher and Shane Eiserman (West Newbury, Mass.) registered assists. Latvia was whistled for a penalty with three seconds remaining in the period and the U.S. capitalized before time expired. Evan Allen (Sterling Heights, Mich.) launched a shot that beat the clock, sending Team USA to the locker room leading, 4-0. J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill.) and Anthony Louis (Winfield, Ill.) earned the helpers.
Latvia notched the lone goal of the second stanza at 7:57. The U.S. sent 12 shots on net in the period, with Nazarovs stopping each attempt. Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif.) made several key saves, allowing just one goal off an odd-man rush by the Latvians.
Hudson Fasching (Burnsville, Minn.) connected with Motte twice in the third period for one-timer goals. Fasching and Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) assisted on Motte’s first tally at 8:58, while Fasching earned the lone assist on the second strike. With under a minute left in regulation, Tommy Vannelli(Minnetonka, Minn.) batted his own blocked shot into the net, capping a 7-1 victory over Latvia. Motte and Compher earned assists on the score.
Demko turned aside 21 shots in the win for Team USA, while Nazarovs kicked out 40 shots in the loss for Latvia.
The U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team concludes preliminary round play on Tuesday (April 23) against Finland at 3:30 p.m. local time (7:30 a.m. EDT), at the Bolshoy Ice Dome. The game will be streamed live on FASTHockey.com. Team USA’s complete schedule can be found below.