Team USA pictured at the base of Mont Blanc prior to their first game against Aosta
Minnesota native Tim Hawkinson takes a group of mostly Minnesota players to Europe as part of his Euro Team Tours. This year they hopped the pond to Italy for a tour of the boot shaped country and some hockey against the Italians. They took in the scenic Italian countryside, learned about their culture and made a lot of new friends.
YHH gathered photos and news from abroad, here is how they did on the ice.
The first game was moved from Aosta to Courmeyer due to a storm in Aosta that melted their ice. They took on the Aosta Gladiators in Courmeyer, a town at the base of Mont Blanc. The Americans won 7-1 lead by Burnsville's Sam Rhode with a Hatty. Tonka's James Miller added two, Brevin Sass-Loken from Winona and Griffin Streeter from Tonka each had one.
Team USA traveled four hours for their first game and played some great hockey. One Italian fan said of the Yanks, "once they got the puck, they just flew!"
Poster for the Alleghe/USA game
In game 2, Team USA faced off against the Alleghe U14 Owls. Alleghe is in the Dolomite region which is known for serious hockey and skiing. Posters were made for the game and put up all around town which helped draw a great local crowd. The Owls went up 1-0 early which surprised the Americans at their skill and speed. Five minutes later, Griffin Streeter scored on a rebound on a Preston Theleman rebound. After the Owls scored on a power play, Streeter tied it up again on scrum around the net. With the scored tied entering second period, Brevin Sass-Loken who scored short side on a pretty feed from Sam Rhode. The Owls answered again a minute later with a screened shot from the point.
Colin Soderholm made some great saves that helped keep the game tied at three including a breakaway save that got both sets of fans on their feet. The third period had 15 minutes of hard checking and lots of chances. With four minutes left, Streeter got the hat trick to give the Americans a 4-3 lead. In the final minutes, USA fought off a power play and a goalie pull to win the game. Soderholm was no doubt the player to watch!
Dinner on Lake Como near the Swiss Alps
Game 3 pitted the red, white and blue against HC Fassa in Calenza, Italy. Amidst the fog, Team USA was prepared for a tough match versus a bigger and older squad. Some of the Italians drove to the rink and some wondered why there was a Wives/Children section. Fassa scored five minutes into the game with a redirected pass from the corner. Lots of big hits and even more censored ice chatter. At 10 minute mark Sam Rhode tipped the puck out of our zone and won the race to the open puck where he beat the goalie low to give the Americans the lead. Fassa awoke and stacked their top two lines for a battle.
With the scored tied, Colin Soderholm once again came up with big save after big save, including one flurry where he saved 4 in a row! After the flurry, Brevin Sass-Loken scored to give Uncle Sam a 2-1 lead.. Fassa would tie it on a multiple rebound goal that showed their strength more than their skill. Tied at 2-2, USA caught Fassa in a line change which left Griffin Streeter and Preston Theleman on a 2-1. Streeter chose the off wing and sniped a goal in the upper corner to give them the lead. After long shifts and intense pressure Fassa beat Soderholm on a 2 on 1.
Both teams had their chances to win late, but neither could finish.
Played in Cortina, Italy the Americans took on the Cortina Summer Development Program. After spending all day on the mountains, Team USA was ready to take on the 22 players Cortina suited up. A good size crowd of locals and youth players showed up for the game.
Team USA in Bosano, Italy #SquadGoals
Playing in the rink where the 1956 Olympics were played and the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only was filmed made it a great experience for the kids. The first period was fast with a lot of great hockey. Alex Sawnhey scored the first goal from the point right off the face off to give Team USA a 1-0 lead. USA was looking good despite playing four long games in two days. Cortina went up 2-1 on back to back power plays to end the first. Cortina continued to mount pressure and went up 4-1 on two more power plays in the second period. Griffin Streeter helped make it interesting with a breakaway goal half way through second period to make it close. Colin Sodetrholm once again was playing great in goal and making some incredible saves.
Cortina's four strong lines were too much for USA in the third scoring an insurance goal late to diminish the hopes of the American's goal of going undefeated in Italy.
One parent told YHH afterward, "the hockey was great, the experience was even better."
The Yanks fell to HC Cortina 5-2 on their home ice in Dolomite region of Italy.