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Team USA Falls to Canada, 6-4, in World Junior Championship Opener

By USA Hockey, 12/26/19, 1:33PM EST


U.S. and Canada Combine for 10 Goals in Front of Sellout Crowd

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Canada defeated the United States, 6-4, in the U.S. National Junior Team’s 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship debut. Shane Pinto (Franklin Square, N.Y.) led the U.S. offensively with two goals and an assist in what would become a thrilling back-and-forth contest.

“We knew it was going to be a 60-minute game against them because it always is when two good teams go at it,” said head coach Scott Sandelin (Hibbing, Minn.). “In this tournament you need everybody, sometimes you need some surprises. Right now we need to keep building on the things we did well, and have to get ready to play tomorrow.”

The U.S. grabbed an early man advantage 2:22 into the first period and didn’t let it go to waste. Pinto tipped a puck toward the net from a Zac Jones (Glen Allen, Va.) blue line shot less than a minute into the power play. USA maintained the momentum minutes later, killing off Canada’s first power play of the game.

Canada pushed back midway through the first, but it was the U.S. again scoring on the power play with less than three minutes remaining in the frame. Trevor Zegras (Bedford, N.Y.) skated into the slot, maneuvering around a Canadian defenseman and found an open Arthur Kaliyev (Staten Island, N.Y.) who scored beyond the reach of Canadian goaltender Nicolas Daws.

The second period tilted in Canada’s favor with three consecutive goals. Forward Connor McMichael started the offense, while back-to-back power play goals gave the Canadiens a 3-2 lead. With 16 seconds left in the second period, the U.S. went on its third power play. As time expired, Pinto grabbed a loose puck and snuck it past the goal line. However, upon the official review, time had expired and the goal was disallowed. 

USA continued to push, as Canada went up 4-2 early in the third period. With 7:15 remaining in the final frame, Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass.) and Pinto found an open Nick Robertson (Northville, Mich.) who sent a shot through a Canadian screen, putting the United States within one. Less than four minutes later, Pinto tied the game at 4-4 as he set up on Canada’s backdoor and hammered home a Robertson pass.

Canada capitalized on a U.S. turnover, and would add an empty net goal in the final three minutes to seal a 6-4 victory. The U.S. will continue 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship play tomorrow against Germany, with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. local time/1 p.m. ET.

NOTES: Shane Pinto (Franklin Square, N.Y) was named U.S. Player of the Game … U.S. and Canada tied in shots 32-32 … The U.S. went 3 for 5 on the power play and 2 for 5 on the penalty kill … For complete game statistics click here … The U.S. (0-0-0-1) will face Germany (0-0-0-0) tomorrow at 7 p.m. local time/1 p.m. ET in Ostrava, Czech Republic … For more information about the tournament click here.



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U.S. Tournament Schedule

Date Opponent Location TIME (LOCAL/ET)/RESULT Broadcast U.S. Player of the Game
Thurs., Dec. 26 Canada
Ostravar Arena L, 4-6 NHL Network Shane Pinto
Fri., Dec. 27 Germany
Ostravar Arena W, 6-3 NHL Network Trevor Zegras
Sun., Dec. 29 Russia
Ostravar Arena W, 3-1 NHL Network Spencer Knight
Mon., Dec. 30 Czech Republic
Ostravar Arena OTW, 4-3 NHL Network Cole Caufield
Thurs., Jan. 2 Finland
Werk Arena L, 0-1 NHL Network Spencer Knight

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