OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Team USA extended its win streak over Germany to six games after tonight’s 6-3 victory, led by four primary assists from Trevor Zegras (Bedford, N.Y.). The U.S. improved its record to 1-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) in 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship preliminary play.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and that we’d face some adversity,” said head coach Scott Sandelin (Hibbing, Minn.). “We kept talking about it, every game in this tournament is hard. That was a good team we played tonight and I’m glad we battled the way we did.”
The U.S. started slow in the first period, surrendering a power play goal 2:32 into the opening frame. However, Germany’s lead wouldn’t last long as Zegras controlled the rush down low in the offensive zone until Jordan Harris (Haverhill, Mass.) received the puck and stepped into a shot that blew past Tobias Ancicka.
Dustin Wolf (Gilroy, Calif.) was tested with less than five minutes remaining in the period while on the penalty kill, as he stepped up in his crease to challenge a one-on-one shot. The U.S. settled the game back down and took advantage of a German line change. Nick Robertson (Northville, Mich.) collected a turnover on the forecheck, as Shane Pinto (Franklin Square, N.Y.), Zegras and Zac Jones (Glen Allen, Va.) combined to give USA the 2-1 lead heading into intermission.
Germany began the second period on the offensive, scoring back-to-back goals, as Wolf looked to control the oncoming surge. Nine minutes into the middle frame a shot and rebound opportunity were stifled by the netminder sliding side to side.
A U.S. power play pushed the offense, but it wouldn’t be until two minutes after the man advantage that Zegras flew into the slot and fired a puck low that Pinto collected and jammed home to tie the game at three apiece. Four minutes later Zegras danced below the German net and spun short side, finding an open Curtis Hall (Chagrin Falls, Ohio).
Taking a 4-3 lead into the third, the U.S. looked to extend their margin further. Bobby Brink (Minnetonka, Minn.) took a loose puck from Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass.) while on the power play, sneaking the puck past a sliding Ancicka. Three minutes later, Wahlstrom picked up a feed from Pinto and netted an inside-out play to give the United States a 6-3 lead.
Germany would push a final time, while on a five-on-three power play, but the U.S. penalty kill held strong. A key block from defenseman Spencer Stastney (Mequon, Wis.) came seconds before another block from John Beecher (Elmira, N.Y.), successfully negating the man advantages. Wolf stopped 17 of 20 shots in net, picking up his first World Junior Championship win.
NOTES: Trevor Zegras (Bedford, N.Y.), was named U.S. Player of the Game … U.S. outshot Germany 29-20 … The U.S. went 1 for 3 on the power play and 3 for 5 on the penalty kill … For complete game statistics click here … The U.S. (1-0-0-1) will face Russia (0-0-0-1) Sunday (Dec. 29) at 7 p.m. local time/1 p.m. ET in Ostrava, Czech Republic … For more information about the tournament click here.
|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|