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Team USA Tops Russia 7-2 in Final Preliminary Matchup, Advances to Semifinals

By USA Hockey, 12/13/19, 4:30PM EST

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U.S. Advances to World Junior A Challenge Semifinals as top seed after four consecutive wins

DAWSON CREEK, British Columbia – In a rematch of the 2018 World Junior A Challenge championship, Team USA came out victors, defeating Russia 7-2.  The U.S. Junior Select Team advances to WJAC semifinals as the top-seeded team after finishing 3-1-0-0 (W-OTW-L-OTL) and will face Canada East Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

“I thought, especially tonight, we were playing the best hockey of the tournament,” said head coach Anthony Noreen (Kearney, Neb.). “We really played a two-hundred-foot game tonight. Everything came together, especially the defense and the power play stepping up and that’s exactly what you want to see going into the medal rounds.”

Josh Groll (San Diego, Calif.) gave the United States an early lead beating Russia goaltender Maxim Motorygin, scoring from a faceoff win by Josh Lopina (Minooka, Ill.) at 1:58 in the first period. Both teams searched for an additional tally throughout the remainder of the first, but neither could capitalize and remained deadlocked at 1-0 after the quick start.

Second period scoring got underway quickly with two goals in the first 91 seconds. Iliya Rychkov got a puck past USA to tie the game 1-1 at 1:01. Mitch Miller (Sylvania, Ohio) wasted no time in giving the United States the lead back, scoring the go-ahead goal, unassisted, at 1:31. 

Brendan Brisson (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), the tournament’s leading scorer, slotted a pass from Gunnarwolfe Fontaine (East Greenwich, R.I.) and Michael Koster (Chaska, Minn.) on the power play to extend the U.S. lead to 3-1 heading into the third period.

Highlights

Nearing the midpoint of the final frame, Fontaine scored his first powerplay goal of the tournament – assisted by Sean Farrell (Hopkinton, Mass.) and Brisson – to give the U.S. a three-goal lead. Brisson added an additional goal to his totals, scoring on another U.S. powerplay off a pass from Fontaine and Koster at 9:46. Sam Colangelo (Stoneham, Mass.) netted the fourth powerplay goal of the game for the United States off a feed from Trevor Kuntar (Williamsville, N.Y.) less than a minute later.

With less than ten minutes remaining, Jack Millar (Westminster, Colo.) capitalized on a rebound from Lopina and Matt Knies (Phoenix, Ariz.), beating Yegor Guskov who replaced Motorygin in net for Russia.

Nikita Buruyanov added a final tally for Russia before the final whistle, making the score 7-2. Ethan Haider (Maple Grove, Minn.) stopped 27 of 29 shots in net for the United States.

NOTES: Josh Lopina (Minooka, Ill.) was the U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Russia 45-29 … Team USA converted on four of nine powerplay opportunities … Brisson (2-1-3) and Fontaine (1-2-3) led all U.S. skaters with three points each … 11 different players collected points in the 7-2 U.S. victory … 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

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