EDMONTON, Alberta – Carter Mazur (Jackson, Mich.) scored twice and six U.S. players were credited with multi-point games en route to Team USA improving to 2-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) in 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship preliminary play here tonight at Rogers Place.
“I'm happy about the way we stuck with our game plan,” said Nate Leaman, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. “We took our game to the next level in the second period and came out with a good win.”
The U.S. offensive push was first to attack just 14 seconds into the game, but the Swiss would take over the shot advantage for the majority of the opening period. Kaidan Mbereko (Aspen, Colo.) held steady in net, including killing off a Swiss man advantage with seven minutes remaining in the first. Red Savage (Scottsdale, Ariz.) injected energy into the U.S. attack as the Swiss powerplay expired, nearly putting the U.S. up, 1-0. Savage picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and split the Swiss defense, leaving himself with a clean breakaway, but Swiss netminder Kevin Pasche shut down the attempt.
Team USA continued to push and drew a penalty with 1:53 remaining in the opening frame. Logan Cooley (West Mifflin, Pa.) led the rush on a regroup, dropping the puck to Matt Knies (Phoenix, Ariz.) who fed a cross-ice pass to Matt Coronato (New York, N.Y.), but Pasche moved post-to-post, stopping the puck while falling toward the shot. The game remained at 0-0, with the U.S. taking the shot advantage 8-7.
As the U.S. powerplay ended seven seconds into the middle frame, Team USA received another man advantage on clean ice. Despite recording four shots on the powerplay, including a one-time shot from Mackie Samoskevich (Newtown, Conn.), the game remained scoreless. The U.S. powerplay continued to play with urgency on its second advantage of the period, as Mazur cashed in for Team USA. Luke Hughes (Canton, Mich.) kept a cleared puck in at the blue line, saving the U.S. attack, as Thomas Bordeleau (Houston, Texas) and Samoskevich moved the puck to a streaking Mazur, who found space under Pasche’s glove.
Switzerland responded with a breakaway goal three minutes later, tying the game at 1-1. Captain Brock Faber (Maple Grove, Minn.) called for the puck at the blue line following a U.S. faceoff win, and wristed a shot past the outstretched glove of Pasche, putting Team USA up, 2-1. Faber rattled off another shot, as Landon Slaggert (South Bend, Ind.) found himself with the puck in front of the Swiss net. Slaggert spun to find a streaking Mazur, who received the puck and buried it into the back of a vacated net, giving the U.S. a two-goal lead.
The alternate captain kept the momentum going, as Slaggert battled in the slot to deflect a Wyatt Kaiser (Ham Lake, Minn.) shot from the blue line, putting the U.S. up 4-1. Team USA’s goal song echoed throughout Rogers Place one more time in the middle frame, as Hughes collected the puck at the blue line and moved it toward the center of the zone, quickly cutting back towards the board to create space. His eventual shot was deflected by Coronato, putting the U.S. up, 5-1.
The Swiss switched netminders to Noah Patenaude, and he was tested early. Cooley found himself all alone on a breakaway and picked up a Swiss penalty on his way to the net. The University of Michigan connection took it from there. While on the powerplay, Hughes dished to Samoskevich who found Bordeleau waiting with his stick in the air, ready to hammer in a one-time shot for USA’s sixth goal of the night. Cooley pushed the U.S. rush down ice with 4:37 remaining in the game, cutting to the middle at the blue line and dropped a pass to Riley Duran (Woburn, Mass.), who found space in the top corner of the net to place Team USA’s seventh goal of the night.
Mbereko stopped 23 of 24 shots in net, for his second consecutive win.
NOTES: Carter Mazur (Jackson, Mich.) was named U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Switzerland, 39-24 … Team USA was 2-4 on the powerplay while Switzerland was 0-3.