OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – A two-goal effort from Arthur Kaliyev (Staten Island, N.Y.) and 25 saves from Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.) fueled the U.S. National Junior Team to a 3-1 win over Russia in its third preliminary game of the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship tonight at Ostravar Arena.
With the win, Team USA improved to 2-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) and now sits atop Group B standings. The U.S. will be back in action tomorrow (Dec. 30) at 7 p.m. local time/1 p.m. ET against the Czech Republic to wrap up preliminary-round play. The game will be broadcast live on NHL Network.
“Our guys did what they need to do, we had some big shot blocks and few key saves,” said head coach Scott Sandelin. “Our guys competed hard and really sacrificed, and that’s what we need to do.”
Team USA started quickly, taking to the power play 1:46 into the opening period. Alex Turcotte (Chicago, Ill.) rushed down ice after receiving a breakout pass, fired a shot as he followed up his own rebound, but Russian netminder Amir Miftakhov was able to keep the game scoreless.
Russia pushed back, taking to a four-minute man advantage midway through the first, but it was Knight and the penalty kill who would shut down the Russian offensive attack. Knight stopped a one-timer 1:38 into the power play, and then battled through a Russian screen to collect a shot one minute later.
Both teams spent much of the second period posturing, looking for opportunities to grab control of the game. The U.S. took to the power play 8:38 into the period, and spent the next five minutes forcing possession in the Russian defensive zone.
The scoreless tie was broken when the U.S. scored back-to-back goals just six seconds apart, tying the IIHF World Junior Championship record for the fastest two goals by the same team. Turcotte battled for the puck below the goal line, while on the man advantage, to allow his power play unit to reset. Once ready, Trevor Zegras (Bedford, N.Y.) threaded a no-look pass to Arthur Kaliyev (Staten Island, N.Y.) who ripped a one-timer that found the back of the net at the 16:47 mark of the middle frame.
Off the ensuing faceoff, the U.S. pushed play again as Mattias Samuelsson (Voorhees, N.J.) entered the offensive zone and found Nick Robertson (Northville, Mich.) darting toward the net. Robertson was able to redirect the pass toward goal as it trickled past Miftakhov to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead.
Kaliyev kept the offense going just 1:20 into the third period when his wrist shot from the high slot snuck past Askarov to give the U.S. a three-goal advantage. Zegras and Jack Drury (Winnetka, Ill.) picked up the assists on the play, as Russia switched to goaltender Yaroslav Askarov.
Russia cut into U.S. lead when Alexander Romanov’s one-timer from the slot found the back of the net at the 3:04 mark of the third period.
With Team USA leading 3-1 late in the final period, the Russians applied another wave of offensive pressure, including two power plays with less than seven minutes to play. Russia added an extra attacker with their net empty while on the power play, but once again Knight and the U.S. penalty kill was up to the task, fending off the Russian attack until the final horn to give Team USA its fifth straight win over Russia in IIHF World Junior Championship play.
NOTES: Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.) was named U.S. Player of the Game … Russia outshot the U.S. 26-24 … The U.S. went 1 for 6 on the power play and 6 for 6 on the penalty kill … For complete game statistics click here … The U.S. (2-0-0-1) will face Czech Republic (1-0-0-1) tomorrow (Dec. 30) 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|