The United States opened the World Under 18 Championships with a loss to Sweden on Tuesday. Minnesota Duluth recruit Justin Faulk had an assist. This release from USA Hockey:
BOBRUISK, Belarus – Despite jumping out to a 2-0 lead, the United States fell to Sweden 4-2 Tuesday in its opening game at the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation World Men's Under-18 Championship.
"Obviously, we're disappointed with the result, especially since we were in a position to get it done with a 2-0 lead," said Kurt Kleinendorst, head coach of Team USA. "To not get it done is difficult, but this is one game and it's a long tournament. We'll have to regroup tomorrow. It's time to push back."
Chase Balisy (Fullerton, Calif.) put Team USA on the board with a power-play goal just 3:36 into the game. Balisy took a feed from Matt Nieto (Long Beach, Calif.) and wired the puck from the right side into the top of the net. U.S. goaltender Jack Campbell (Port Huron, Mich.) turned aside all 10 shots he faced in the opening frame to keep Sweden at bay.
The U.S. picked up another early-period goal when Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.) found Brandon Saad (Gibsonia, Pa.), who took the puck around a defender at the Sweden blue line, cut to the middle and slid a quick shot from the high slot through netminder Johan Gustafsson at 2:26 of the middle stanza. Sweden cut the deficit in half with a power-play goal off the stick of Johan Larsson, who slipped the puck through Campbell's legs at the 13:32 mark.
Sweden took control in the final frame, scoring three unanswered goals to dash Team USA's hopes of a first-game win. Henri Snall netted the game-tying goal at 6:29, when he jammed home Max Friberg's cross-crease feed. Just 2:45 later, Larsson tipped Petter Granberg's right-point shot out of mid air and past the blocker of Campbell. Sweden ensured victory when Larsson potted an empty-net goal with 19 seconds remaining.
Campbell made 26 saves on the night.
The U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team will take on Switzerland on Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. CDT)at Bobruisk Arena.