RED DEER, Alberta – Despite a valiant rally, the United States Under-18 Men’s Select Team suffered an 8-3 setback against Russia in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup pool-play finale Wednesday night at Servus Arena.
Trailing 3-0 after one period, Robert Mastrosimone (East Islip, N.Y.) started the rally for Team USA two minutes into the second. The Chicago Steel forward caught a long stretch pass from Mitchell Miller (Sylvania, Ohio) and scored his team-leading third goal of the tournament after a smooth toe drag to elude Russia’s lone defender.
The U.S. struck again just 68 seconds later on the power play, when Arthur Kaliyev (Delray Beach, Fla.) whacked home a rebound of his first shot after a centering pass from Michael Mancinelli (Northville, Mich.) to make it 3-2.
Sam Colangelo (Stoneham, Mass.) produced the equalizer at 8:33, redirecting a power-play blast from defenseman Luke Reid (Geneva, Ill.) past Russian goaltender Yaroslav Askarov to make it 3-3. But Russia answered with its own power-play goal from Vasili Podkolzin at 17:33 to regain the lead, and four more Russian goals in the third period put the game out of reach.
“Obviously not the outcome we wanted tonight, but I’m proud of our team for how they battled back in the second and didn’t give up,” said U.S. head coach Cory Laylin. “We’ll regroup and get ready to bring our best in the semifinals.”
With the loss, Team USA (2-1) finished second in Pool B behind Russia (3-0). Both teams will advance to the Hlinka Gretzky Cup semifinals, with the U.S. meeting Canada (3-0) in Friday’s second semifinal at 7 p.m. Mountain Time. NHL Network will broadcast the matchup of North American foes from Edmonton’s Rogers Place.
NOTES: The U.S. went 2 for 3 on the power play. Russia was 1 for 6 … In his first action of the tournament, U.S. goaltender Derek Mullahy (Scituate, Mass.) stopped 47 of Russia’s 55 shots on goal … Team USA will have its first off day of the tournament Thursday, which will be a travel day as the squad moves from Red Deer to Edmonton for the semifinals.