HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – The U.S. National Junior Team outshot Canada 45-37, but fell 6-2 in the semifinals of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship before a record crowd of 10,636 at the Scotiabank Centre tonight.
Team USA will face Sweden in the bronze-medal game tomorrow (Jan. 5) at 3:30 p.m. local time/2:30 p.m. ET at the Scotiabank Centre and the game can be seen live on NHL Network.
“We certainly had our chances tonight,” said Rand Pecknold, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team and also the head men’s ice hockey coach at Quinnipiac University. “I thought their goaltender was the best player on the ice. We’re all disappointed obviously, but we have a chance to win a medal tomorrow and that’s our focus.”
Logan Cooley (West Mifflin, Pa.) broke through just 1:19 into the game off the faceoff with a snipe from the high slot off a centering pass from Ryan Ufko (Smithtown, N.Y.). Jimmy Snuggerud (Chaska, Minn.) picked up an assist on the goal as well.
Kenny Connors (Glen Mills, Pa.) made it 2-0 just after the 10-minute mark, tapping home a rebound on the doorstep off an initial shot from Charlie Stramel (Rosemount, Minn.) at the point. Gavin Brindley (Estero, Fla.) tallied an assist as well, carrying the puck into the zone at the beginning of the play
Canada got on the board with 8:11 to play in the period and the U.S., with 18 shots on goal in the opening frame, had a 2-1 advantage after 20 minutes.
The Canadians tied the game 47 seconds into the second and took the lead with a goal at the 5:46 mark. Jackson Blake (Fargo, N.D.) tied the game at 7:22, but it was waved off for goaltender interference. Canada scored at 12:40 and had a 4-2 advantage after 40 minutes.
Rutger McGroarty (Lincoln, Neb.) scored just :38 into the third period, but another video review eliminated the tally. Canada scored at the 9:45 mark of the third and scored shorthanded into an empty net with 3:15 to account for the 6-2 final.
Trey Augustine (South Lyon, Mich.) finished with 31 saves in the U.S. net.
NOTES: Kenny Connors was named Team USA’s player of the game … Logan Cooley, Jimmy Snuggerud and captain Luke Hughes were named the three best players of the tournament for Team USA … The U.S. was 0-4 on the power play, while Canada was 0-2 … For Team USA’s roster and schedule, click here.