LANDSHUT, Germany - The U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team used a four-goal, one-assist performance from Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.) to top Canada, 8-3, here tonight in its opening game of the 2022 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship.
Howard's four goals tied the tournament and U.S. record for most goals in a single game at the IIHF U18 Men's World Championship.
"Ike's got a real unique ability to finish," head coach Adam Nightingale (Cheboygan, Mich.) said after the game. "I like how he created, playing tenacious and getting to the inside. Now it's about moving on to the next game and getting ready to go tomorrow."
Team USA jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the opening period with Howard scoring twice. His first came less than five minutes in when he converted on a set-up from Lane Hutson (North Barrington, Ill.) after the defenseman forced a defensive-zone turnover. Hutson stole the puck, shifted through a pair of skaters and found Howard at the right hash marks, where he potted a one-timer.
Howard added his second of the evening with 1:08 to play in the opening period. Off of feeds from Gavin Brindley (Estero, Fla.) and Frank Nazar (Mount Clemens, Mich.), he took his initial shot from the top of the left circle that was stopped by goaltender Reid Dyck with the right pad. Howard collected his own rebound and put his second-chance through the five-hole.
Canada responded with two goals of its own in the first six minutes of the middle frame. Matthew Wood put the Canadians on the board at 4:42 when he finished a feed from Conor Bedard in front of the USA cage. Matthew Ward followed just over a minute later with a penalty-shot goal after he was hooked going in alone on a breakaway.
Team USA restored its advantage with a give-and-go back-door goal from Logan Cooley (Pittsburgh, Pa.) at 9:21 of the middle frame. The U.S. won a board battle and Cooley picked up the loose puck with speed entering the offensive zone. He fed Cutter Gauthier (Scottsdale, Ariz.) down the left wing, who returned the puck to Cooley for a tap-in and 3-2 USA lead.
Less than a minute later, Cruz Lucius (Grant, Minn.) collected his first of the tournament to make it 4-2. Charlie Stramel (Rosemount, Minn.) found Ryan Chesley (Mahtomedi, Minn.) at the right point, who backhanded a feed towards the net. Lucius used a nice deflection in front to put the puck through the legs of Dyck with 9:50 to play in the period.
Bedard got one back for Canada with a wrister from a sharp angle at bottom of right circle.
Chesley gave the U.S. its third two-goal lead of the game when he converted off of a goal-mouth scramble. Nazar got behind the Canada defense for the initial shot, which was turned aside. Howard had a rebound opportunity but couldn't get a clean look and the puck shot free to the left of the crease. Chesley raced in and fired home to put the Under-18 Team ahead, 5-3.
Howard completed the hat-trick in front after an extended offensive-zone possession. Hunter Brzustewicz (Washington Twp., Mich.) attempted a shot from the right point that didn't get through traffic. Nazar was first to the puck behind the net and centered a feed to Howard, alone in the slot, for his third score of the night.
Team USA added its seventh goal on a breakaway wrist-shot from Cole Spicer (Grand Forks, N.D.), who was spurred into the offensive zone by Devin Kaplan (Bridgewater, N.J.) near the midway mark of the final period.
Howard added his fourth score of the contest on a pretty set-up from Cooley for the 8-3 final.
USA goaltender Trey Augustine (South Lyon, Mich.) picked up his first career IIHF win as he turned aside 27 shots.
Team USA returns to the ice tomorrow afternoon to take on Czechia at 3:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. ET). The game will broadcast live on NHL Network.
NOTES: Isaac Howard, with four goals on the night, was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... For complete tournament news, including full schedule, broadcast information, stats and standings, click here ... Team USA news, including tournament interviews and highlights, can be found at TeamUSA.USAHockey.com ... The U.S. has won 10 gold medals in IIHF U18 Men's World Championship history, the most of any country ... Follow @USAHockey on Twitter for the latest information and updates throughout the tournament.