TRINEC, Czech Republic – The United States dropped its 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship quarterfinal game to Finland, 1-0, today at Werk Arena. The result ends the U.S. all-time best medal streak at four consecutive years.
“I thought this group that we have was growing, but tonight we were chasing the game and didn’t have it,” said head coach Scott Sandelin (Hibbing, Minn.). “There are some guys in there who will have a chance at this again, I hope they all learn from it moving forward.”
Finland received an early advantage in the game, taking to a four-minute power play. Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.) and the penalty kill unit held strong, stopping Finland from gaining any momentum. Knight found a wired shot through a busy screen, followed by a kick save off a one-time shot. With a minute left in the four-minute advantage, Shane Pinto (Franklin Square, N.Y.) blocked Finland’s best chance, leading to a successful penalty kill.
Midway through the period, both teams exchanged chances back and forth, including a John Beecher (Elmira, N.Y.) pass to send Pinto on a rush. Pinto was able to maneuver to the net past the Finnish defense, but goaltender Justus Annunen was up to the challenge.
The U.S. took over the first two minutes of the second period, forcing possession in Finland’s zone. The sustained pressure led to an Arthur Kaliyev (Staten Island, N.Y.) one-timer, but Annunen stood tall again. Curtis Hall (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) fired a one-timer of his own just two minutes later, but to no avail.
Finland pushed back seven minutes into the frame, earning back-to-back opportunities. Knight denied a two-on-one chance, as Spencer Stastney (Mequon, Wis.) raced down ice 30 seconds later to poke the puck away before a shot could be released on Finland’s second chance.
Twenty seconds following the rush, Bobby Brink (Minnetonka, Minn.) pushed play for the U.S. drawing a penalty as he dished the puck to Hall in front of the net. However, the remainder of the period would bring no offense to either team, keeping the game tied, 0-0.
Just over four minutes into the third period, Joonas Oden capitalized on a Finnish man advantage and broke the scoreless contest with a one-timer in the slot to put Finland up 1-0. Team USA battled back, as Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass.) forced himself to the net, but was muscled down before finding an opportunity to shoot.
The U.S. had one final chance to score, earning a power play with 1:15 remaining in the period. USA pulled Knight, looking to capitalize on a six-on-four advantage. The U.S. found a couple of peripheral chances, but couldn’t find the equalizer as time expired, giving Finland the 1-0 win.
NOTES: Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.) was named the player of the game for the United States … Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.), Shane Pinto (Franklin Square, N.Y.) and Trevor Zegras (Bedford, N.Y.) were named the Top-3 Players for the U.S. … Zegras finished T-4th in U.S. single tournament history with nine assists … For complete game statistics click here … 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|