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U.S. Tops Czech Republic 5-4 In Overtime

By USA Hockey, 12/09/19, 9:26PM EST

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Multi-point performances from Fontaine, Brisson and Miller lead U.S. Junior Select Team to victory

DAWSON CREEK, British Columbia – Two goals, including the overtime winner, from Gunnarwolfe Fontaine (East Greenwich, R.I.) and three assists from Brendan Brisson (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) helped the U.S. Junior Select Team to a 5-4 overtime victory over the Czech Republic tonight at the Encana Events Centre.

“Tonight’s win involved a lot of resiliency and sticking to it,” said head coach Anthony Noreen (Kearney, Neb.). “When [Czech Republic] scored that late goal, I don’t think there was any guy on our bench who wasn’t determined to get it back and win that hockey game. The only thing that matters is the team and the guys have done a really good job of putting that first.”

Team USA got off to a quick start in the first period. Brisson fought his way through two Czech defenders, dropping a pass back toward the middle for Sean Farrell (Hopkinton, Mass.) who fired a one-timer past Czech goaltender Jakub Dobes at 11:26 for the opening goal of the game. Minutes later, U.S. netminder Ethan Haider (Maple Grove Minn.) went post-to-post on a momentous save to keep the U.S. up 1-0.

The U.S. kept pressure in the Czech defensive zone, determined to double their lead before the end of the period. Mitch Miller (Sylvania, Ohio) did just that, picking up a center ice pass from Brisson as he was exiting the penalty box, netting a breakaway goal to put Team USA up by two.

U.S. Highlights

Czech Republic responded with a power-play goal 49 seconds into the second frame. At 7:30 in the second, Marcel Barinka scored again for the Czech team to tie the game at two apiece. Barinka scored again with 5:37 remaining in the second to give the Czech Republic its first lead of the tournament.

That lead lasted less than a minute, when Trevor Kuntar (Williamsville, N.Y.) made it a 3-3 game at 15:09 in the second. Miller’s shot went off the side of the net when Josh Groll (San Diego, Calif.) sent the puck back in front for a waiting Kuntar.

Both teams remained deadlocked at three until Czech snuck the puck past Haider on a partial breakaway to give them a 4-3 lead late in the third frame. The U.S. wasted no time putting the pressure back on Czech. Fontaine delayed and fired a shot top corner after receiving a pass from Brisson to even the score at four, forcing overtime.

Just 55 seconds into the extra period, Fontaine collected a loose puck in the neutral zone and fired a shot on net, collected his own rebound and poked in the unassisted overtime winner.

2019 WJAC

Haider made 14 saves in goal for the United States, including a few outstretched highlight-worthy stops.

The U.S. (1-1-0-0/W-OTW-L-OTL) continues 2019 World Junior A Challenge play Wed. (Dec. 11) against Canada East (1-0-0-1/ W-OTW-L-OTL). Puck drop is slated for a 9 p.m. ET start and the game can be streamed live here.

NOTES: Gunnarwolfe Fontaine (East Greenwich, R.I.) was named the U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot the Czech Republic 37-18 … Brisson (0-3-3) led all U.S. skaters with three points … The U.S. killed off five of six Czech power plays in the game … For full game stats, click here … Follow Team USA throughout the 2019 World Junior A Challenge here


U.S. Schedule

Date Opponent/Round Time (Local/ET)/Result Location Broadcast/Streaming Statistics/U.S. Player of the Game
Thur., Dec. 5 Canada East
Pre-Tournament
W, 6-0
Chetwynd Rec Centre
Chetwynd, B.C.
Live Stream
Sat., Dec. 7 Canada West
Preliminary
W, 3-2
Encana Events Centre
Dawson Creek, B.C.
Live Stream
Brendan Brisson
Mon., Dec. 9 Czech Republic
Preliminary
OTW, 5-4
Encana Events Centre
Dawson Creek, B.C.
Live Stream
Gunnarwolfe Fontaine
Wed., Dec. 11 Canada East
Preliminary
W, 7-3 North Peace Arena
Fort St. John, B.C.
No Stream Brendan Brisson
Fri., Dec. 13 Russia
Preliminary
W, 7-2 Encana Events Centre
Dawson Creek, B.C.
Live Stream
Josh Lopina
Sat., Dec. 14 Canada East
Semifinals
SOL, 1-2
Encana Events Centre
Dawson Creek, B.C.
Live Stream
Logan Stein
Sun., Dec. 15 Czech Republic
Third-Place Game
OTW, 2-1
Encana Events Centre
Dawson Creek, B.C.
TSN Ethan Haider

More WJAC News

Both teams remained deadlocked at three until Czech snuck the puck past Haider on a partial breakaway to give them a 4-3 lead late in the third frame. The U.S. wasted no time putting the pressure back on Czech. Fontaine delayed and fired a shot top corner after receiving a pass from Brisson to even the score at four, forcing overtime.

Just 55 seconds into the extra period, Fontaine collected a loose puck in the neutral zone and fired a shot on net, collected his own rebound and poked in the unassisted overtime winner.

2019 WJAC