Finland Drops United States in Overtime in Hlinka Opener

Bruce Bennett

A power play goal in overtime lifted Finland past the United States in the Ivan Hlinka tournament opener.

The United States Select-18 team scored a late game-tying goal, but a pair of penalties late in regulation doomed the United States, as Finland's Waltteri Hopponen scored just :59 into overtime to give the Finns a 3-2 overtime victory.

Scoring goals for the US team were Crookston, Minnesota's Paul Bittner, who plays for the Portland Winterhawks, and Michigan recruit Kyle Connor, who plays for the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms. Sioux City(USHL) forward and Yale recruit Joseph Snively was named the player of the game for the US.

The Select-18 squad will hit the ice for their second tournament game tomorrow morning when they face Russia, in what may now be a must-win game if the US hopes to advance to the medal round. The top two teams in the four-team bracket that includes the US, Finland, Russia, and tournament co-host Slovakia will advance to the medal round, while the bottom two will compete in the consolation round.

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