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U.S. Tops Finland, 7-5, in Opening Contest of 2020 Youth Olympic Games

By USA Hockey, 01/18/20, 3:45PM EST

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Howard records hat trick; Team USA continues pool play Sunday (Jan. 19) against Switzerland

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Led by a hat trick from Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.), the U.S. Youth Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team earned its first win at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games, defeating Finland, 7-5, today at Vaudoise Arena.

Team USA continues preliminary play Sunday (Jan. 19) against host nation Switzerland. Puck drop is slated for 2 p.m. ET and a live stream of the game can be found here.  

“It was a really good start to the tournament for our team,” said head coach Scott Paluch (Bowling Green, Ohio). “Our guys got off to a tremendous start and then weathered a lot of difficult situations, but we have a great bench and really good teammates to get us through that win.”

The U.S. struck first after captain Jimmy Snuggerud (Chaska, Minn.) picked off a Finnish pass in the offensive zone and moved the puck through the slot to Rutger McGroarty (Lincoln, Neb.) who found Charlie Stramel (Apple Valley, Minn.) at the left circle. Stramel fired a one-timer past Finnish goaltender Topias Leinonen to take a 1-0 lead 29 seconds into the first period.

Forty-one seconds later, Gavin Brindley (Estero, Fla.) recovered a loose rebound in the crease and fired the puck past Leinonen to give Team USA a 2-0 advantage.

With 8:38 to play in the first period, Howard collected a no-look pass from Cruz Lucius (Grant, Minn.) in the offensive zone and slotted the puck between the legs of Leinonen to extend the United States’ lead to 3-0.

Team USA Roster

Finland got on the board late in the opening period to cut Team USA’s lead to 3-1 heading into the first intermission.

The U.S. capitalized on a 3-on-1 opportunity 4:02 into the middle frame when Frank Nazar’s (Mt. Clemens, Mich.) drop pass intended for Brindley deflected off a Finnish defender and into the net to give the U.S. a 4-1 lead.

Finland cut the lead to 4-2 at the 5:26 mark of the period, but Team USA regained the three-goal advantage when Howard crashed the Finnish crease to put away a feed from Maddox Fleming (Rochester, Minn.) and give the U.S. a 5-3 lead with less than five minutes to play in the period.

Finland turned up the gas in the final period, and forward Santeri Sulku snuck the puck past U.S. goaltender Dylan Silverstein (Calabasas, Calif.) 2:24 into the frame to make it a 5-3 game.

However, Howard collected a loose puck in the neutral zone and beat Leinonen between the legs to notch the first hat trick of the tournament and extend the U.S. lead to 6-3 with 7:16 to play in regulation.

Stramel rounded out the scoring for the U.S. with under five minutes to play, tallying his second goal of the day on the power play to make it a 7-3 game.

Finland tallied a pair of quick goals in the final minutes of regulation, but the U.S. stayed strong in the defensive end and Silverstein stood tall in goal to hold on to a 7-5 victory.

Silverstein recorded 23 saves in goal for the United States.

NOTES: Isaac Howard led all U.S. skaters in scoring with a hat trick … Tyler Duke (2A), Charlie Stramel (2G) and Frank Nazar (1G, 1A) tallied two points each …  Ten skaters recorded points in the victory … The U.S. outshot Finland 32-28 … Full game statistics can be found here … Follow the U.S. Youth Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team as it competes at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games here.


Team USA Schedule

Date Opponent Time (Local/ET)/Result Stream Location Game Stats
Tues., Jan. 14 Switzerland
Pre-Tournament
W, 4-0 Stream Here EZO Romanshorn
Romanshorn, Switzerland
N/A
Sat., Jan. 18 Finland
Preliminary
W, 7-5 Stream Here Vaudoise Arena
Lausanne, Switzerland
Stats
Sun., Jan. 19 Switzerland
Preliminary
W, 8-2 Stream Here Vaudoise Arena
Lausanne, Switzerland
Stats
Tues., Jan. 21 Canada
Semifinal
W, 2-1 Stream Here Vaudoise Arena
Lausanne, Switzerland
Stats
Wed., Jan. 22 Russia
Gold-Medal Game
3:00 p.m. / 9:00 a.m. Stream Here Vaudoise Arena
Lausanne, Switzerland
Stats

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