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Swiss defeats U.S. in U-18 Four Nations Tourney

by Mike G. Morreale

Yannik Rathgeb scored in the seventh round of a shootout to give Switzerland a 5-4 victory over the United States on the second day of the 2012 Under-18 Four Nations Tournament on Wednesday at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube in Michigan.

Rathgeb, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound wing, finished the game with two goals for the Swiss.

Shane Eiserman connected for a shorthanded goal 9:02 into the third period to give the United States (1-0-1) a 4-3 lead before Rathgeb connected for a power-play goal 24 seconds later to knot the contest.

Following a scoreless five-minute overtime, during which each team was credited with two shots, the game entered a shootout. Eiserman, who was named Team USA's player of the game, and Tyler Kelleher each had a goal and one assist in the loss.

Switzerland received a 47-save performance by goalie Daniel Guntern, who turned back 23 shots in the third period. Hunter Miska, who was given a C rating on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list, made 19 saves.

"We battled hard tonight but came up short in the end," U.S. coach Don Granato said. "This result will serve as a wake up call to our players, reminding them what it takes to win a hockey game against elite talent."

The Swiss opened a 2-1 lead in the first period on goals from C-rated prospect Jason Fuchs and Ramon Pfranger. Evan Allen (C rated) scored the goal for the United States at the 7:33 mark to tie the game, 1-1.

The Americans pulled even when Michael McCarron (B rated) scored 2:03 into the second before Rathgeb struck for a power-play goal at 4:29. Sean Malone then evened the score once again for the United States when he connected at 12:35.

In the shootout, Kelleher had scored for the United States in the fourth round, but Switzerland's Marc Aeschlimann answered right back. Switzerland's Jason Fuchs, who had a goal and one assist, was named his team's player of the game.

In the earlier game Wednesday, Sweden (2-0) scored a 3-2 victory over Finland (0-2).

Switzerland (1-0-1) will next face Finland on Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET and the United States will battle Sweden in the nightcap at 7 p.m. ET.

Follow Mike Morreale at Twitter: @mike_morreale

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