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U.S. Captures Third Place in World Jr. A Challenge

By USA Hockey, 12/17/23, 3:45PM EST

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Team USA defeats Sweden 8-5 to claim 15th consecutive medal

TRURO, Nova Scotia — Trevor Connelly (Tustin, Calif.) scored four goals to lead the U.S. National Junior Select Team past Sweden, 8-5, and claim third place in the 2023 World Jr. A Challenge at Rath Eastlink Community Centre on Sunday.

“I’m proud of our group for finding a way to finish off the tournament on a strong note,” said Matt Smaby (Minneapolis, Minn.), head coach of the U.S. National Junior Select Team. “It wasn’t the final result we wanted but I feel really lucky to have been around such a great group of players. It’s an honor to represent your country and I’m proud of our guys for doing a great job of that.”

Zam Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) got the U.S. on the board 2:04 into the game after he fired a shot from the corner that deflected off the Swedish goaltender into the net.

Sweden tied the score, 1-1, on the power play at 3:28 in the first period.

Less than a minute later, Connelly deked the Swedish goaltender and capitalized, with assists from Brandon Svoboda (Level Green, Pa.) and Andrew Strathmann (Beach Park, Ill.) to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead.

Zam Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) got the U.S. on the board 2:04 into the game after he fired a shot from the corner that deflected off the Swedish goaltender into the net.

Sweden tied the score, 1-1, on the power play at 3:28 in the first period.

GAME PHOTOS

Less than a minute later, Connelly deked the Swedish goaltender and capitalized, with assists from Brandon Svoboda (Level Green, Pa.) and Andrew Strathmann (Beach Park, Ill.) to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead.

Connelly expanded on the U.S. lead with a power-play goal at 7:09 in the first frame, assisted by Strathmann and Mac Swanson (Anchorage, Alaska).

Sweden responded with a power-play goal at the 13:18 mark and found the back of the net again less than a minute later to level the score at three apiece.

Team USA regained the lead after Connelly netted a feed from Adam Kleber (Chaska, Minn.).

James Reeder (Glenview, Ill.) added to the U.S. tally late in the first period when he deflected a shot from Swanson, assisted by Joe Connor (Amherst, N.H.), to give Team USA a 5-3 lead heading into the middle third.

Chris Pelosi (Sewell, N.J.) and Connelly combined for a pair of power-play goals in the second period and Sweden added to its tally to bring the U.S. lead to 7-4.

Connor scored 1:45 into the third frame, and Sweden added a goal, capping off an 8-5 victory for the U.S. to earn a third-place finish in the 2023 World Jr. A Challenge.

Goaltender Hampton Slukynsky (Warroad, Minn.) backstopped the win with 21 saves.

NOTES: Trevor Connelly was named the U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA outshot Sweden 32-26… Both Team USA and Sweden were 3-6 on the power play… Team USA finished the tournament with a 5-0-1-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record… For Team USA’s roster and schedule, click here.

2023 WJAC

WJAC History

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