LAKE PLACID - Shayne Gostisbehere has fond memories of playing hockey at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid. A year ago as a freshman skating for Union College, the 19-year-old netted his first collegiate goal against rival RPI at the Herb Brooks 1980 Arena.
On Thursday, the native of Margate, Fla. had another memorable outing on that same ice, scoring two power-play goals and adding an assist to lead the United States under-20 national team to a 10-2 victory over Sweden.
The win was the second in as many days for the Americans, who topped Finland 5-2 Wednesday in exhibition play as part of a week-long evaluation camp for the team as it prepares for the IHF Junior World Championships being held this winter in Russia. The victory also came in a surprising fashion, as the U.S. overwhelmed the Swedes, who are the defending junior world champions.
United States under-20 forward Nicolas Kerdiles top shelves a shot past Swede goaltender Niklas Lundstrom during the second period of Thursday’s game at the Olympic Center.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
"There's a lot of history in this building, and it's exciting to be back playing here," said Gostisbehere, who hopes to compete in his first Junior World Championships. "I scored my first college goal in this rink, and I was fortunate enough to get two more tonight. Obviously, this was a big win for us, but this game was just a friendly. We're going to have to do it again when it counts."
The U.S. clung to a 2-1 lead at the first intermission and then blew the game wide open by scoring six goals in the second period while shutting down what had been a powerful offensive attack by Sweden earlier in the week. Heading into the matchup, the Swedes had racked up a pair of wins - one over Finland and another over the U.S. split squad - by a combined 13-3 score.
"To be able to beat a team like that the way we did created a great vibe within our guys," said U.S. head coach Phil Housley.
After having an early goal waved off due to to goaltender interference, the Americans grabbed a 1-0 lead when Gostisbehere netted one that counted at the 10:37 mark of the first period. Sweden tied the game when Mike Zibanejad buried a shot at the 6:34 mark, but after that the U.S. took control by scoring seven unanswered goals.
John Gaudreau, who plays for the defending NCAA Division I national champion Boston College Eagles, put the U.S. on top to stay when he scored on the power play with just 56 seconds remaining in the opening period.
The Americans then got two quick goals to open the middle period, with Vince Trocheck and Alex Galchenyuk scoring 21 seconds apart for a 4-1 U.S. lead. John Gibson then held Sweden at bay with with some big saves in net for the Americans until the onslaught continued when Gostisbehere and Nicolas Kerdiles each tallied in a span of 24 seconds near the middle of the stanza to give the U.S. a 6-1 advantage.
Tyler Biggs and J.T. Miller tacked on two more goals for the U.S. in the second period, and the run finally ended when Joachim Nermark scored Sweden's second goal 59 seconds into the third period. But the Americans weren't finished yet, as defenseman Jacob Trouba and forward Sean Kuraly each notched a goal to round out the scoring.
"For the most part, our transition game was excellent," Housley said. "We created a lot of offense from our defensive side. We played aggressive against a very talented Sweden team. Another key was our special teams. We had some excellent PK (penalty kills), some opportunistic goals on the power play and our goaltending was solid."
After splitting time in nets with teammate Garret Sparks in the Americans' 5-2 win over Finland Tuesday, Gibson played the entire game against Sweden and finished with 35 saves. Meanwhile, the U.S. put 44 shots on net and Niklas Lundstrom made 34 stops in goal for the Swedes.
"I'll tell you what, in the second period when we needed some saves, he made a glob of them," Housley said of Gibson. "A pad save he made was a big-time difference maker. John certainly provided us with solid goaltending."
The Americans wrap up camp this weekend and will try to claim their third win of the week when they face off against Finland Saturday starting at 1 p.m. Sweden and Finland will meet one more time when they clash today at the Olympic Center with the opening face off slated for 4 p.m.