Fans did not get to see sniper Johnny Gaudreau on Thursday morning but his fellow Calgary Flames prospects Patrick Sieloff and Jon Gillies helped the USA pick up a 3-2 OT win over Sweden.
The USA opted to sit what will likely be their top line, Gaudreau, JT Miller and Rocco Grimaldi, to get a better read on several bubble players. They also scratched Jacob Trouba, Seth Jones and John Gibson. The American squad will finalize their roster on Dec. 22nd, releasing two blueliners and one forward.
Gillies played the second half of the game, taking over for Garret Sparks. He was solid in net in his 28:16 of ice time, stopping 18 of the 19 shots he faced. The battle for the back-up position is still very much in the air at this point as Sparks had a very good outing as well.
One concern voiced about Sieloff is the possibility of him taking himself out of the play while trying to land a big hit. That wasn't an issue on Thursday as he played a cautious game and wasn't overly physical. Watch for the 18 year-old to have more of a edge to his game on Saturday when the Americans take on the Finns.
The USA surrendered an early goal when Sparks lost track of a long shot by Emil Molin. The Americans answered back quickly, however, when defenceman Connor Murphy sent a slap shot from the high slot that flew past Niklas Lundstrom during a power play.
Mario Lucia set up Ryan Hartman to make it a 2-1 affair for the USA in the second frame. He stripped a Swedish defender of the puck behind the net and feathered a pass to Hartman whose one-timer gave the US their second goal of the day.
Late in the second period, Rickard Rackell tied the game with a power play marker. He had plenty of time and space to get off a hard snap shot that went over Gillies right pad.
The USA picked up the win when Shayne Gostisbehere beat Lundstrom with a shot from the blueline.
The American Player of the Game was Jim Vesey while Filip Forsberg was named Sweden's top player.
USA'S LINES, DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS & GOALIES
Alex Galchenyuk - Sean Kuraly - Mario Lucia
Jimmy Vesey - Vince Trocheck - Tyler Biggs
Blake Pietila - Cole Bardreau - Ryan Hartman
Stefan Matteau - Riley Barber
Patrick Sieloff - Mike Reilly
Shayne Gostisbehere - Brady Skjei
Jake McCabe - Connor Murphy
SWEDEN'S LINES, DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS & GOALIES
Rickard Rakell- William Karlsson - Filip Forsberg
Linus Froberg - Emil Molin- Sebastian Collberg
Alexander Wennberg- Victor Rask- Filip Sandberg
Max Gortz - Jeremy Boyce Rotevall - Nick Sorensen
Jacob De La Rose
Hampus Lindholm - Rasmus Bengtsson
Mikael Vikstrand - Tom Nilsson
Linus Arnesson - Emil Djuse
Christian Djoos - Jesper Pettersson