For the second straight game, the United States didn't play a complete sixty minutes of hockey, but did more than enough to come away with a second convincing win at the World U18 Championships.
Sweden dominated the opening minutes of play, taking the games first six shots on goal. They came inches from taking the lead when defenseman Timoth Liljegren fired a wrist shot from the point on the man advantage that beat US goalie Joseph Woll, but hit the post.
Unable to capitalize on that early momentum and take a lead, it was all downhill afterwards for Sweden as the powerful US attack finally got moving.
Casey Mittelstadt scored late in the first period to give the US an early lead, then the US stuck twice within a 1:41 span early in the second period. Sweden would take their timeout after going down 3-0, but it was too late to make much difference.
The US continued to control play on their way to a 6-1 final score. The win is Team USA's second in as many games as they lead Group A. Sweden remains in a three-way tie with Russia and Latvia at the bottom of Group A with two points each.
Notes and Thoughts:
-The top line of Keller-Bellows-Anderson was very good for the US again, but it was a much more balanced attack for the US today, and the type of effort they'll likely need later in the tournament.
It was the second line that really got things going for the US. They were the first line to generate a shot after that dreadful start, and then got the first goal of the game. I continue to really be impressed by Logan Brown's play since joining Team USA two weeks ago. He creates so much for his teammates by using his combination of size and puck-handling/passing ability. I saw Brown in December and never would have guessed he had this in him. He's made big strides since then, and is likely moving up NHL Draft boards with his play here.
The US also got a pair of goals from their fourth line, which was the difference in this game being a blowout rather than one that could have gotten interesting late.
-Speaking of 'not knowing he had that in him,' watch the Vine of JD Greenway's goal below. Wow.
-The US has their two toughest games of pool play out of the way. The next two should be blowouts before they get into the big games in the second week.
17:51 Casey Mittelstadt from Logan Brown and Kailer Yamamoto 1-0 USA
Brown carried the puck along the right half wall, drawing two Swedish defenders, then flipped the puck into open space where Mittelstadt picked it up with space to work. He skated into the slot and fired a shot below the glove of the Swedish goalie for the goal.
Eden Prairie's Casey Middlestadt with a steal and goal vs Sweden pic.twitter.com/Ojc40whztf— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) April 16, 2016
2:17 Kieffer Bellows from Adam Fox 2-0 USA
Fox poked a puck loose along the boards in the neutral zone, sending Bellows in on a breakaway. Bellows took a quick release snap shot that beat the Swedish goalie over the glove.
Kieffer Bellows breakaway goal for USA pic.twitter.com/fNX6Qv3FWI— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) April 16, 2016
3:58 Ryan Lindgren from Graham McPhee 3-0 USA
McPhee held the puck at the top of the right circle, waiting for Lindgren to cut in front of the net. McPhee fired a sharp pass that Lindgren tipped past the goalie for a goal.
What a pass from McPhee to Lindgren to put the USA up 3-0 pic.twitter.com/8zmiSE7LEw— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) April 16, 2016
17:17 JD Greenway from Clayton Keller and Adam Fox (short-handed) 4-0 USA
Keller made a pretty pass in the neutral zone to send Greenway in one-on-one with a Swedish defender. Greenway deked around the defender then made a nice move to poke the puck around the goalie for a highlight reel goal.
10:32 Timothy Liljegren from Linus Lindstrom and Alex Nylander (power play) 5-1 USA
Liljegren took a high wrist shot from the far right half-boards that beat Woll high.
This Swedish goal was reviewed for a high stick, it did count pic.twitter.com/W6sZ7A7iqQ— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) April 16, 2016
12:03 Joey Anderson from Chad Krys and Clayton Keller (power play) 6-1 USA
Krys took a wrist shot from the top of the point that Anderson tipped on goal. Anderson then picked up his own rebound to score the goal.