Despite an early lead in the first period, USA White dropped this afternoon’s opening game, 7-1, to Sweden in the final day for action at the 2021 World Junior Summer Showcase.
USA White found the back of the net first as Sasha Pastujov jammed home a puck in front of the net that beat Swedish netminder Calle Clang. Cameron Berg and Eamon Powell picked up assists. Sweden fought back with back-to-back goals, giving them a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
Sweden scored twice in the final four minutes of the middle frame, with back-to-back one-timers. They followed up the goals with a two-on-one breakaway, giving Sweden a 5-1 advantage into the final frame.
The Swedish offensive attacked continued, scoring on a two-on-one breakaway five minutes into the third period. Jack Peart nearly put the U.S. back on the board with a move toward the net on the power play with 5:31 remaining in the third, but he was ultimately shutdown. Sweden added a final goal with 4:30 left in the period, making it 7-1.
Kaidan Mbereko started for USA White, stopping 20 of 25 shots in the first two periods of play. Tucker Tynan took over netminding duties for the third period, stopping eight of 10 shots.
In the final game of the 2021 World Junior Summer Showcase, USA Blue lost to Finland, 4-2 despite outshooting their opponents, 29-20. The Showcase served as an evaluation tool for USA Hockey staff as they determine the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team set to compete in the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
USA Blue opened the game pushing the puck, highlighted by a power play opportunity 7:25 into the period, but Finnish netminder Leevi Merilainen shut down the attack. After back-and-forth action, Finland capitalized first scoring on a two-on-one breakaway opportunity. Finland doubled its tally while the teams were skating four-on-four, taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Matthew Knies put USA Blue on the board 3:41 into the second period when he pushed the puck hard to the net on a follow up chance from Jake Sanderson. The hard effort was matched and rewarded less than a minute later when the U.S. drew a penalty driving to the net. However, as the extra-man advantage expired, Finland pushed back down ice for a 3-1 lead.
The U.S. jumped to a five-on-three power play advantage in the first minute of the final period. As time expired on the first penalty, Mackie Samoskevich fed the puck to Logan Cooley who elevated the puck past Merilainen for a 3-2 game. Finland scored a final tally with 3:10 remaining in the third period for a 4-2 final.
Drew Commesso started for USA Blue, stopping 16 of 20 shots in the game.