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White overtime goal gives U.S. Under-18 gold medal

by Adam Kimelman

Colin White, No. 29 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2015 NHL Draft, scored with 7:16 left in overtime to give the United States a 2-1 win against Finland in the gold-medal game of the 2015 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Zug, Switzerland.

United States forward Jeremy Bracco skated the puck into the Finland zone along the left-wing boards and cut through the high slot, drawing the attention of the Finland defense. White found an open spot behind them in the slot and one-timed Bracco's pass past Finland goalie Veini Vehvilainen.

"This is unbelievable," White said, according to the IIHF website. "Winning on an overtime game-winner … there's no feeling like it. A lot of credit goes to my linemates. Jeremy Bracco put the puck right on my stick. I was lucky enough to put it in."

White's goal was his sixth of the tournament, tied for third. He had 22 goals and 53 points in 54 games with the United States National Team Development Program under-18 team.

Center Jack Roslovic, No. 39 on Central Scouting's ranking, also scored for the United States. Goaltender Evan Sarthou, a prospect for the 2016 draft, made 19 saves.

Vehvilainen, who is No. 7 on Central Scouting's final ranking of European goaltenders, made 60 saves. Center Julius Nattinen, No. 15 on Central Scouting's final ranking of European skaters, scored for Finland.

Trailing 1-0 on Julius Nattinen's goal 17 seconds into the game, Roslovic tied the game for the U.S. with 11:19 left in the third period. Matthew Tkachuk, a top prospect for the 2016 draft and the son of former NHL star Keith Tkachuk, got the puck behind the Finland net and backhanded it in front. An open Roslovic one-timed it past Vehvilainen.

"It was really tough getting that first goal, but we knew that once we did we just needed to keep wearing them down," said Roslovic, who had six goals and 11 points in the tournament. He had 28 goals and 78 points in 65 games with the USNTDP under-18 team. "That was our goal. A credit to [Finland]. … But we did what we wanted to and got the job done."

Auston Matthews had dumped the puck down low for Tkachuk and got an assist on the goal. Projected as one of the top picks for the 2016 draft, Matthews led the tournament with 15 points in seven games. Matthews was named to the tournament all-star team, and was voted the tournament's best forward and most valuable player.

Joining Matthews on the all-tournament team was Vehvilainen, defensemen Vili Saarijarvi (Finland) and Jonas Siegenthaler (Switzerland), and forwards Patrik Laine (Finland) and Denis Malgin (Switzerland).

Ilya Samsonov, Central Scouting's top-rated European goaltender, was named the tournament's best goalie; he had a 2.67 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in four games. Saarijarvi, a 2015 draft prospect, led all defensemen at the tournament with three goals and nine points.

Finland's Sebastian Aho, playing his only game of the tournament after scoring the championship-winning goal for Karpat in Liiga, Finland's top professional League on Saturday, picked up a loose puck in the Finland end and rushed it up the ice. His speed created a 2-on-1 that Nattinen finished to give Finland the early lead.

That was all Finland could get as the U.S. won the gold medal for the second straight year.

In the bronze-medal game Canada got two goals from Glenn Gawdin, No. 59 among North American skaters, in a 5-2 win against Switzerland. Deven Sideroff (No. 134) had a goal and an assist, and Jansen Harkins (No. 15) and Brett Howden, a 2016 draft prospect, also scored goals.

Mathew Barzal, who led Canada and tied for third in the tournament with 12 points, was held off the score sheet. The center for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League is the No. 11-ranked North American skater on Central Scouting's list.

Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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