EDMONTON, Alberta — The U.S. opened 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship play with a 5-1 win over Germany, led by defenseman Luke Hughes (Canton, Mich.) who scored a goal and added an assist for Team USA here tonight at Rogers Place.
“We really had a good start to the game, and I liked how we stuck with it throughout,” said Nate Leaman, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. “We had six or seven good chances and Germany’s goaltender was making good saves. We could’ve gotten frustrated, but we didn’t, and eventually guys got rewarded.”
Team USA’s offense was relentless out the gate, outshooting Germany 15-0, including a man advantage in the first two minutes. The U.S. finally cracked German netminder Nikita Quapp after Carter Mazur (Jackson, Mich.) pressured Germany on a loose puck behind the net. Thomas Bordeleau (Houston, Texas) and Landon Slaggert (South Bend, Ind.) combined to collect the bouncing puck, settling it for Hughes at the blue line who fired the shot into the back of the net.
With 3:43 remaining in the opening frame, Germany was called for a five-minute match penalty, giving the U.S. a man advantage for the remainder of the period. Team USA was forced to regroup on the power play after Germany cleared a loose puck, but Matt Coronato (New York, N.Y.) found a streaking Logan Cooley (West Mifflin, Pa.) who tapped in his own rebound in after his initial breakaway attempt. Germany nearly scored on a U.S. line change with a minute remaining, but U.S. netminder Kaidan Mbereko (Aspen, Co.) shut down the breakaway attempt with his blocker to keep the score at 2-0.
Team USA took its 25-4 shot advantage, and the remaining 1:17 of power play advantage into the second period, nearly scoring in the opening minute. But as the penalty expired, Slaggert found the back of the net from a tight angle. The U.S. doubled its opening period lead to 4-0 two minutes into the middle period, when Riley Duran (Woburn, Mass.) fired a puck that sat loose in the crease, and a crashing Red Savage (Scottsdale, Ariz.) poked the puck into the back of the net.
Officials waved off a fifth U.S. goal, but after video review, officials confirmed that Coronato scored on a backhand attempt on a loose puck. Hughes skated to the net and fired a shot up high that was stopped high into the air. Matt Knies (Phoenix, Ariz.) attempted to put in the rebound in a net-front scramble, but it was Coronato that tapped the puck under the German netminder. Team Germany challenged the review, and successfully overturned the call, keeping the game at 4-0. Duran put the U.S. up, 5-0, in the final minute as he fired the puck toward the net from the faceoff circle, floating it past Quapp.
The U.S. continued to push in the final period but couldn't add to its five-goal lead. Germany scored 20 seconds into a power play midway through the third period, putting the final score at 5-1.
Mbereko stopped 10 of 11 shots faced in net.
Team USA will face Switzerland in preliminary round play on Thursday (Aug. 11) at 8 p.m. MT at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, live on NHL Network.
NOTES: Luke Hughes (Canton, Mich.) was named U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Germany, 50-11 … Team USA was 1-4 on the power play while Germany was 1-1.