Faulk Helps USA 18s, and Raymond

   This from USA Hockey on a win Saturday night, with the help of a goal from Minnesota Duluth recruit Justin Faulk, a defenseman from South St. Paul, and further down, from the Vancouver Sun on Mason Raymond’s two goals in a Saturday home win over Toronto:

ITHACA, N.Y. – In his hometown and against his future school, Andy Iles (Ithaca, N.Y.) stopped 39 shots including all 21 he saw in the third period as the U.S. National Under-18 Team outlasted No. 6-ranked Cornell University, 3-2, here tonight at Lynah Rink. Tonight’s win was the first for the U.S. National Under-18 Team in five all-time meetings with the Big Red.

"This was a fun game to coach and a fun game for everyone on our side to be a part of," said Kurt Kleinendorst, head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Team. "We played sharp, we battled and we did a lot of things well tonight."

Sean Whitney tallied the opening period’s only goal when his wrist shot from the right point beat Iles at the 9:53 mark to give the Big Red a 1-0 lead.

Team USA answered on the power play early in the second stanza when Justin Faulk‘s (South St. Paul, Minn.) wrist shot from the right point beat netminder Ben Scrivens inside the left post just 20 seconds into the middle period. Bryan Rust (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) gave the U.S. a 2-1 lead after he snapped home Jon Merrill ‘s (Brighton, Mich.) pass from behind the net on the right side at 11:10. With just 25 seconds to play in the period, Riley Nash tied the score for Cornell after he put a backhanded shot past Iles from between the faceoff circles.

NOTES: Andy Iles is orally committed to attend Cornell University next season … Jason Zucker‘s two points (0-2) paced Team USA … Faulk tallied his seventh goal and sixth power-play marker of the season, both team bests … Cornell University is ranked No. 6 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men’s College Hockey Poll … Saturday’s game was played in front of an announced sellout crowd of 4,267 fans.

Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER — The better team lost Saturday night but when it’s the Toronto Maple Leafs on the losing end to the Vancouver Canucks, not many tears will be shed on the Left Coast.

Brian Burke’s winless Buds gave the Canucks everything they had and it still wasn’t enough as Vancouver eked out a 3-1 victory despite being outplayed everywhere but in goal.

The Leafs badly outworked the Canucks at even strength and spent most of the third period in Vancouver’s zone with a full-court press before Mason Raymond, with his second of the night, hit the empty net with 7.9 seconds remaining.

Canuck captain Roberto Luongo was superb, making 35 saves, including 10 in the third. Vancouver’s record improved to 5-5-0 while the Leafs tumbled to 0-7-1.

“It wasn’t a text-book hockey game from our standpoint,” said Luongo. “But we found a way to win even though Toronto played really well. We knew they were going to be hungry.”

Canuck head coach Alain Vigneault credited his goalie for being the difference. Toronto outshot Vancouver by a 36-25 margin.

“This was obviously one of Roberto’s best games of the year, if not his best,” Vigneault said. “From start to finish, he made the key saves at key times and he’s the one who permitted us to win tonight. Toronto came out really strong and played a real complete game but what’s happened to us many times so far this year happened to the Leafs. Our goaltender just shut them down.”

Vancouver’s best forward line Saturday was the second unit with Ryan Kesler between Raymond and rookie Michael Grabner. They combined for 14 shots on Leaf netminder Joey MacDonald and collected five points.

“That whole line has carried us for the last two game,” continued Vigneault. “They played really well at both ends of the rink. They’re generating scoring chances and I think Michael is finding his way and playing the way he’s supposed to play at this level.”