U.S. BACK IN U17 SEMIFINALS AFTER WIN OVER SWEDEN
JASON LA ROSE
DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Jack Hughes, Cole Caufield and Alex Turcotte had a goal and an assist apiece, leading the United States into the semifinals at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge after a 5-1 quarter-final win over Sweden on Thursday.
The Americans will take on either Canada White or Finland in the semis, while Sweden will play in the seventh-place game, with time and opponent to be determined.
The win ends a mini-drought for the U.S., which had not been to the semifinals since it won silver in 2014; it lost to the Swedes in the quarter-finals in each of the last two years, both times as the higher seed.
Sean Farrell got the festivities started for the Americans with a power-play goal at 8:30 of the first period, redirecting a Domenick Fensore shot through Swedish netminder Matteus Ward.
The Swedes responded late in the period, with Arvid Costmar getting his stick on a shot from Alexander Popovic to send the teams to the intermission tied 1-1.
Sweden came out with jump in the second period, outshooting the U.S. 13-9, and had chances to take the lead, but couldn’t find a way past netminder Cameron Rowe.
Hughes shifted the momentum and put the Americans ahead for good at 15:43 of the middle frame, keeping on a two-on-one and sneaking a backhand five-hole on Ward.
Caufield ripped a one-timer past Ward to make it 3-1 at 8:05 of the third, and Turcotte jumped all over a turnover in the Swedish zone before roofing a backhand for a three-goal advantage just 48 seconds later.
Patrick Moynihan capped the scoring late in the final stanza with a tip-in for his second of the tournament.
Both goaltenders were busy; Ward and Rowe made 30 saves apiece. The U.S. outshot Sweden 35-31.