GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Jimmy Snuggerud (Chaska, Minn./University of Minnesota) scored three times and added an assist, while Frank Nazar III (Mount Clemens, Mich./University of Michigan) notched four assists to help the U.S. National Junior Team to an 11-3 victory over Switzerland in its second preliminary round contest of the 2024 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship here tonight at Frolundaborg.
“I liked our start,” said David Carle (Anchorage, Alaska/University of Denver), head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. “We made them uncomfortable early and that was important. It was a good win and now we’ll turn our attention to an excellent Czech team.”
Will Smith (Lexington, Mass./Boston College) got the U.S. on the board 1:20 into the opening frame after Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass./Boston College) found Zeev Buium (San Diego, Calif./University of Denver) on the point where he sent a cross-ice pass down low for Smith who netted a one-timer.
Team USA went up 2-0 two minutes later when Snuggerud tucked the puck past Swiss goaltender Lorin Gruter. Rutger McGroarty (Lincoln, Neb./University of Michigan) and Cutter Gauthier (Scottsdale, Ariz./Boston College) drew assists on the play.
Switzerland set up a quick shot off an offensive zone draw, but Jacob Fowler (Melbourne, Fla./Boston College) was quick to freeze the puck.
Snuggerud picked the top corner with a wrister for his second tally of the contest at 8:11 of the first period. Gauthier won the offensive zone draw and Snuggerud scooped up the puck and sent a laser top shelf.
Switzerland’s Gregory Weber responded 1:06 later when he cut through the zone and slipped the puck under Fowler’s pad to cut the U.S. lead to 3-1.
Snuggerud completed his natural hat trick at 12:36 off another faceoff win from Gauthier. McGroarty bumped the puck to Snuggerud as he came around the top of the circle and fired a wrist shot that beat Ewan Huet, who replaced Gruter, glove side.
Buium jumped in on the scoring action to put Team USA up 5-1 at 18:29 in the opening frame after his backhand shot deflected off the skate of a Swiss player and into the net.
Gavin Brindley (Estero, Fla./University of Michigan) added to the U.S. tally at 5:06 of the second period. Nazar carried the puck deep into the Swiss zone before he pulled up in the corner and threaded a pass to Brindley in the slot where he launched a one-timer.
Leonard netted a power-play goal minutes later, assisted by Brindley and Seamus Casey (Fort Meyers, Fla./University of Michigan).
Brindley notched his second tally to bring the U.S. lead to 8-1, burying a feed from Nazar at the halfway mark of the second stanza.
Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis./Michigan State University) netted Team USA’s ninth goal of the game on a delayed penalty at 14:55 and the opening 40 minutes finished with a 9-1 U.S. lead.
Switzerland’s Gael Christie found the back of the net 1:18 into the third period, before Quinn Finley (Suamico, Wis./University of Wisconsin) netted a short side one-timer from Nazar as a U.S. power play expired at 7:09 for a 10-2 U.S. advantage.
Switzerland added another tally from Thierry Schild on the doorstep at the 9:30 mark before Eric Pohlkamp (Brainerd, Minn./Bemidji State University) concluded the scoring with a power play goal at 5:32 from Finley and Nazar.
Fowler made 21 saves to pick up the win in the U.S. net.
Team USA will play its third preliminary round game tomorrow (Dec. 29) against Czechia. Opening faceoff is 5:00 p.m. local/11:00 a.m. ET at Frolundaborg and the game can be seen live on NHL Network.
NOTES: Jimmy Snuggerud was named the U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA outshot Switzerland, 40-24 … The U.S. was 2-4 on the power play, while Switzerland was 0-2 … A total of 14 different U.S. players recorded at least a point in the contest, with seven players with multi-point games.