GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Gavin Brindley (Estero, Fla./University of Michigan) tallied a pair of goals and Trey Augustine (South Lyon, Mich./Michigan State University) made 22 saves to help the U.S. National Junior Team to a 4-1 victory over Norway in its first preliminary round matchup of the 2024 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship at Frolundaborg.
“I thought we got better as the game went on,” said U.S. head coach David Carle (Anchorage, Alaska/University of Denver). “And our goaltending was excellent. We have some things to work on, but it’s nice to get a win to start the tournament.”
The U.S. had a pair of power play opportunities in the first half of the opening frame and setup a series of scoring chances but was unable to convert.
At the five-minute mark in the first period, Gabe Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill./Boston College) nearly gave the U.S. the lead with a one-timer from the slot, but Norwegian goaltender Markus Stensrud moved across the crease for a sliding save.
Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass./Boston College) tried his hand to break the 0-0 stalemate late in the first but was denied by the blocker of Stensrud.
U.S. netminder Augustine had a busy first period, making 10 saves, including several good chances in the final five minutes.
Team USA killed a trio of penalties, including :16 of a 5-on-3 early in the second period, led by stellar net-minding from Augustine.
Jimmy Snuggerud (Chaska, Minn./University of Minnesota) put the U.S. on the board at the halfway point of the middle stanza. Seamus Casey (Fort Meyers, Fla./University of Michigan) sent a pass along the top of the Norwegian zone for Drew Fortescue (Pearl River, N.Y./Boston College), who found Snuggerud in the slot where he turned and netted a wrister for a 1-0 lead.
The U.S. went on the powerplay after Norway was tagged for roughing. With 9:59 gone in the middle stanza, Brindley banked a one-timer from the faceoff dot off a feed from Perreault that beat Stensrud stick side to expand the U.S. advantage to 2-0.
Brindley notched his second goal of the contest at 16:33 in the second period. Frank Nazar III (Mount Clemens, Mich./University of Michigan) battled the puck out of the corner for Brindley, who walked the puck out from the hashmarks and netted a top-shelf wrist shot.
Norway cut the U.S. lead to 3-1 with a shorthanded goal at 4:18 in the third frame after Petter Vesterheim beat Augustine on a breakaway.
The U.S. responded less than a minute later when Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis./University of Michigan) deflected a pass from Cutter Gauthier (Scottsdale, Ariz./Boston College) over the pad of Stensrud. Lane Hutson (North Barrington, Ill./Boston University) also drew an assist on the play.
Augustine made 21 saves to backstop Team USA’s 4-1 victory.
Team USA faces Switzerland Thursday (Dec. 28) at 5:00 p.m. local/11:00 a.m. ET at Frolundaborg in Gothenburg, Sweden, live on NHL Network.
NOTES: Gavin Brindley was named the U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA outshot Norway, 44-23 … The U.S. was 2-5 on the power play, while Norway was 0-4 … A total of 10 different U.S. players recorded at least a point in the contest.