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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- A pair of Team USA squads, comprised of 42 players eligible for the 2006 U.S. National Junior Team, including Coyotes prospect Blake Wheeler, knocked off teams from Finland and Sweden here today at USA Hockey's 2005 U.S. Under-20 National Junior Evaluation Camp. All four teams will return to round-robin action for games Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

The United States' Team Blue used a late goal from Blake Wheeler (Robbinsdale, Minn.) to earn a 5-3 win over Finland, while Team White skated to a 5-0 shutout victory against Sweden.

"The purpose of this camp is to eval uate players in a lot of situations," said Walt Kyle, 2006 U.S. National Junior Team head coach. "The scores aren't indicative of so much, and they're probably not worth reading much into, but it's great competition and it's a great environment to eval uate in."

Team Blue was led offensively by Wheeler who scored first- and third-period goals, while goaltenders Ian Keserich (Cleveland, Ohio) and Johnathan Quick (Hamden, Conn.) each made 16 saves in the win.

Wheeler's first goal gave Team Blue a 1-0 lead at the 10:10 mark of the first period, with assists from Jordan LaVallee (Corvallis, Ore.) and Justin Abdelkader (Muskegon, Minn). After Finland tied the game at 7:10 of the second period, Team Blue regained the lead with two goals in less than a minute. Adam Pineault (Holyoke, Mass.) assisted on a Shawn Weller (Glens Falls, N.Y.) goal at 14:59 of the middle frame and scored one of his own, unassisted, just 34 seconds later.

Finland notched two quick goals at 12:27 and 15:57 of the third to draw even and set the stage for Wheeler's game-winning tally. Wheeler split through the defense, drove to the slot and converted at 18:21 of the third period. Robbie Schremp (Fulton, N.Y.) closed the scoring with an empty-net goal at 19:42.

In the second game of the night, Team USA White scored three times in the first period and received 30 shutout minutes each from goaltenders Cory Schneider (Marblehead, Mass.) and Jeff Frazee (Burnsville, Minn.) en route to a 5-0 win.

Brandon Dubinsky (Anchorage, Alaska) gave Team White a 1-0 lead at the 1:36 mark of the opening frame, followed by a Nick Foligno (Hummelstown, Pa.) shorthanded individual effort at 14:45 and a Jack Skille (Madison, Wis.) goal at 18:11.

Bobby Ryan (Cherry Hill, N.J.) scored the only goal of the second period, walking from the end boards and in front of the net to tuck the puck in for a 4-0 Team White lead. Defenseman Matt Lashoff (Albany, N.Y.) finished the night's scoring with the lone third period tally at 6:47.

Both Ryan and Foligno recorded both a goal and an assist, while Bryan Lerg (Livonia, Mich.) picked up a pair of helpers.

On Wednesday, Team White will play the early game (4 p.m. EDT) against Finland, followed by Team Blue vs. Sweden at 7 p.m. EDT.


USB  1  2  2 -- 5
FIN  0  1  2 -- 3

First Period - Scoring: 1, USB, Wheeler (LaVallee, Abdelkader), 10:10. Penalties: FIN, Jokila (cross checking), 12:01; USB, Pineault (roughing), 15:55; FIN, Seitsonen (elbowing), 16:02; USB, Abdelkader (elbowing), 18:26.

Second Period - Scoring: 2, FIN, Joensuu (unassisted), 7:10; 3, USB, Weller (Pineault, Zalewski), 14:49; 4, USB, Pineault (unassisted), 15:33. Penalties: FIN, Koistinen (interference), 5:46; FIN, Wirtanen (holding), 9:43; FIN, Ahtola (tripping), 19:06.

Third Period - 5, FIN, Sailio (Wirtanen), 12:27; 6, FIN Joensuu (Sailio), 15:57; 7, USB, Wheeler (unassisted), 18:21; 8, USB, Schremp (Fritsche), 19:42 (en). Penalties: USB, Kessel (cross checking), 6:38; USB, Abeldkader (cross-checking) 8:08; USB, Mueller (roughing), 13:41; USB, Pineault (roughing), 20:00; FIN, Kolehmainen (roughing), 20:00.

Power Plays - USA 0-5, FIN 0-5

Shots - USA 37, FIN 35

Saves - USA: Keserich (16, 17 shots, 29:26), Quick (16, 18 shots, 30:34) FIN: Karri (32, 36 shots, 59:10)


USW  3  1  1 -- 5
SWE  0  0  0 -- 0

First Period - Scoring: 1, USW, Dubinsky (Davis, Lerg), 1:36; 2, USW, Foligno (unassisted) 14:45 (sh); 3, USW, Skille (Gerbe, Lee), 18:11. Penalties: USW, Lerg (roughing) 13:51.

Second Period - Scoring: 4, USW, Ryan (Foligno), 19:57. Penalties: USW, Foligno (tripping), 0:51; SWE, Anderson (cross checking), 5:36; SWE, Demen-Willaume (holding), 6:40; USW, Fraser (slashing), 11:16; SWE, Svennson (high sticking), 14:37; SWE, Hedman (delay of game), 17:53.

Third Period - Scoring: 5, USW, Lashoff (Ryan, Lerg), 6:47. Penalties: USW, Lashoff (roughing), 3:32; USW, Foligno, (high sticking, double minor), 6:56; USW, Fraser (elbowing), 16:23.

Power Plays - USW 0-4, SWE 0-6

Shots - USW 36, SWE 25

Saves - USA: Schneider (11, 11 shots, 30:00), Frazee (14, 14 shots, 30:00) SWE: Akerlund (31, 36 shots, 60:00)

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