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U.S. Claims 7-4 Victory over Sweden in World Jr. A Challenge

By USA Hockey, 12/12/23, 9:45PM EST


Team USA continues preliminary round play on Thursday against Canada West

Team USA celebrates win against Sweden

TRURO, Nova Scotia — Trevor Connelly (Tustin, Calif.) notched a pair of goals and added two assists as the U.S. Junior Select Team skated to a 7-4 victory against Sweden in preliminary round play at the 2023 World Junior A Challenge at Rath Eastlink Community Centre on Tuesday.

"I'm really happy for our guys and I thought it was a good team win," said Matt Smaby (Minneapolis, Minn.), head coach of the U.S. Junior Select Team. "There will be areas of our team game that will need to continue improving, but I've been pleased with the progress from the group so far."

Brandon Svoboda (Level Green, Pa.) gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with a short-handed breakaway goal 3:33 into the game. Charlie Cerrato (Fallston, Md.) sent a stretch pass through the neutral zone to Svoboda on the far blueline, where he skated in on goal and slid the puck past the Swedish goaltender.

At 5:52 in the first period, Sweden’s Leo Sahlin Wallenius knotted the score at one apiece.

Midway through the opening frame, Will Felicio (Holden, Mass.) tapped in a backdoor pass from Connelly on a delayed Sweden penalty, and Team USA headed into the second period with a 2-1 lead.


Sweden’s Lucas Pettersson found the back of the net 2:12 in the second to tie the score at 2-2.

The U.S. regained the lead 18 seconds later after Beckett Hendrickson (Minnetonka, Minn.) tucked the puck in on the edge of the crease, but Sweden was quick to respond with a powerplay goal.

Team USA took the back lead with a powerplay goal of its own from Chris Pelosi (Sewell, N.J.), assisted by Kaden Shahan (Everett, Wash.) and Hendrickson.

Connelly added to the U.S. tally at 13:38 in the middle stanza when he swept a loose puck into the net, giving his team a two-goal lead heading into the final third.

Sweden found the back of the net once more in the third period but was unable to make up the deficit. James Reeder (Glenview, Ill.) scored on the power play and Connelly tallied his second goal of the game to seal a 7-4 victory for Team USA.

Goaltender Hampton Slukynsky (Warroad, Minn.) made 17 saves in goal.

NOTES: Trevor Connelly was named the U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA outshot Sweden 34-21 … Team USA was 2-3 on the power play, while Sweden was 2-5 … Team USA is 2-0-0 (W-L-T) in the tournament… For Team USA’s roster and schedule, click here.

2023 WJAC

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