THOUSAND OAKS, California, March 26. THE USA Men's National Team closed out the Four Nations Tournament with an 8-8 tie against Montenegro, under windy, rainy conditions at California Lutheran University. Tim Hutten's (Seal Beach, CA/UC-Irvine/Newport WPF) goal with a little over a minute to play forged the tie, and preserved the tie in match where the United States led for roughly three quarters. Ryan Bailey (Long Beach, CA/UC-Irvine/Newport WPF) scored twice to lead the offense and Merrill Moses (Palos Verdes, CA/Pepperdine/NYAC) did the job in net turning aside 14 shots.
Montenegro scored first less than 90 seconds into the match, to grab a 1-0 lead. The United States responded with a tally from Bailey, his third straight game scoring first for the United States, tying the match at 1-1. Team USA when went up 2-1 on another score from Bailey, on a power play, with 3:41 left in the period. Then at the 1:36 mark, the United States would use another power play, when John Mann (Newport Beach, CA/California/NYAC) found the cage for a 3-1 advantage. Montenegro was able to get one back, sneaking in a goal on a power play with just five seconds left, to make it 3-2 after one quarter.
In the second period the United States continued to build on their lead as Adam Wright (Seal Beach, CA/UCLA/NYAC) beat the keeper for a 4-2 lead. Montenegro scored two minutes later to close to within one at 4-3. That was answered by another power play score for the United States, this time from Peter Varellas, (Moraga, CA/Stanford/Olympic Club) and Team USA led 5-3 at halftime.
Out of the intermission, in the third quarter, it looked as if the United States might blow the game open with a goal from Brian Alexander (Santa Ana, CA/UCSB/Olympic Club). Alexander got out ahead of the field for one on none and put the shot away for a 6-3 lead. Montenegro battled back over the remainder of the period, outscoring Team USA 2-0, to make it a 6-5 game after the third quarter.
The momentum continued for Montenegro to start the fourth as they scored back to back goals to take their first lead since the early stages, up 7-6 with 6:03 left in the match. The United States battled back to tie the match, on a penalty shot from Tony Azevedo (Long Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC), at 7-7 with 5:41 left. Montenegro went ahead once more, less than two minutes later, at 8-7. That set the stage for the final moments when the United States was able to breakthrough to tie the match. A final possession from Team USA resulted in a turnover and time expired, resulting in the tie.
Team USA went 5/12 on power plays and 1/1 on penalty shots while Montenegro was 5/11 and did not attempt a penalty shot. Team USA is in action next when they take on Italy at Dos Pueblos High School in Santa Barbara, CA, this Thursday March 29, at 7pm. Tickets will be available at the door.
USA 8 (3, 2, 1, 2) R. Bailey 2, T. Hutten 1, P. Varellas 1, A. Wright 1, B. Alexander 1, T. Azevedo 1, J. Mann 1
MNE 8 (2, 1, 2, 3) B. Zlokovic 3, M. Janovic 2, Dr. Brguljan 1, V. Paskovic 1, Da. Brguljan 1
Saves – USA – M. Moses 14 – MNE – M. Scepanovic 8
6×5 – USA 5/12 – MNE – 5/11
Penalties – USA 1/1 MNE – 0/0
Italy Defeats Germany 9-5
Italy and Germany got together in a matchup of teams headed in two different directions. Italy has already qualified for the 2012 Olympics, while Germany heads off to Canada next month in an effort to qualify. Behind three goals from Giorgetti, Italy was able to pick up the win 9-5. The match was close early on with the game tied 2-2 after the first, and Italy leading just 4-3 at halftime.
In the second half, Germany tied the match with 5:45 to go, only to see the Italians score the next two and grab a 6-4 lead after three quarters. In the fourth Germany tried to chip away getting a score from Walthan to close within 6-5 with 4:04 remaining. That was as close as Germany would get as the Italians scored three straight to put the game away, and take the match 9-5.
ITA 9 (2, 2, 2, 3) Giorgetti 3, Gitto 2, Rizzo 2, Figari 1, Aicardi 1
GER 5 (2, 1, 1, 1) Walthan 2, Roessin 1, Kruezmann 1, Schuler 1
Saves – ITA – Tempesti – 11 – GER – Kong – 7 – Tchigir – 2
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