in Exhibition Game of 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Vatrano Scores Goal and Adds Assist; Rutledge and Olson Stop 18
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. - Frankie Vatrano (East Longmeadow, Mass.) had a two point night and goaltenders Jared Rutledge (Chicago, Ill.) and Collin Olson (Apple Valley, Minn.) combined efforts for the shutout as the U.S. National Under-17 Team blanked Canada's Team West, 4-0, here tonight at the PCU Centre, in its exhibition game preceding the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
"We accomplished what we set out to do tonight," said Danton Cole, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team. "The team got its legs going and we got back into game mode after a short break off."
The opening frame saw the U.S. outshoot Team West, 10-4, but no pucks found their way to the back of either net and the first period ended in a 0-0 tie.
Team USA continued to pepper the opposing goaltenders with shots in the second stanza and cashed in on the powerplay at 14:29 when Connor Carrick (Orland Park, Ill.) lit the lamp. Carrick received a quick pass from Nicolas Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif.) low in the slot and wristed a high shot past Team West goaltender Andy Desautels for the score.
Kyle Osterberg (Lakeville, Minn.) netted a goal just 31 seconds into the third period to put Team USA up, 2-0. From behind the net, Osterberg wrapped the puck around the post and snuck it past Desautels and his outstreched right pad. Miles Koules (Los Angeles, Calif.) added to the U.S. lead when he knocked the puck in the net after a Vatrano ricochet shot off the boards found his stick.
A quick shot by Vatrano from just inside the blue line found daylight and his goal at 12:51 in the final frame sealed the Team USA victory over Team West, 4-0. Dakota Mermis (Alton, Ill.) collected an assist on the play.
Rutledge and Olson combined to make 18 saves in the win, while Chris Dreidger and Desautels stopped 38 shots in the loss for Team West.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team will next face Finland tomorrow (Dec. 29) at 3 p.m. CT in Team USA's first round-robin game of the World Under-17 Challenge. The game will be held at the MTS Iceplex in Winnipeg.
NOTES: All games during the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will be available via live webcast at FASTHockey.com ... Follow @USAHockeyScores on Twitter for live scoring updates during the tournament. Scores will be designated with #NTDPU17 ... The U.S. is the defending champion at the tournament, having captured the 2010 title in Timmins, Ontario ... The U.S. National Under-17 Team is part of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, along with the U.S. National Under-18 Team ... Find USA Hockey on Facebook at Facebook.com/USAHockey and Twitter at Twitter.com/USAHockey.