GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Gabe Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill./Boston College/New York Rangers) netted two goals and an assist and Seamus Casey (Fort Meyers, Fla./University of Michigan/New Jersey Devils) added three assists to help the U.S. National Junior Team to a 7-2 victory over Latvia in quarterfinal play here tonight at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
The U.S. will play in the semifinals Thursday (Jan. 4) against Finland at 7:30 p.m. local/1:30 p.m. ET and the game can be seen live on NHL Network.
“There was a lot to like about tonight,” said David Carle (Anchorage, Alaska/University of Denver), head coach of the U.S. National Junior team. “We’re excited to be moving on and look forward to our next challenge ahead.”
Team USA took a 1-0 lead just 1:31 into the contest when Oliver Moore (Mounds View, Minn./University of Minnesota/Chicago Blackhawks) slated a pass to Drew Fortescue (Pearl River, N.Y./Boston College/New York Rangers) at the top of the circle where he sent a laser under the glove of Latvian goaltender Devis Rolovs. Cutter Gauthier (Scottsdale, Ariz./Boston College/Philadelphia Flyers) also recorded an assist on the goal.
Near the halfway mark of the first period, the Latvian offense drove hard into the American zone, but goaltender Jacob Fowler (Melbourne, Fla./Boston College/Montreal Canadians) was able to bat the puck clear of the net.
Perreault put the U.S. up 2-0 at 11:42, putting the puck into an open net on the far side after a cross-ice feed from Casey.
Latvia got on the board at 13:50 with a tally Dans Locmelis, but :13 later, the U.S. took a 3-1 lead after Danny Nelson (Maple Grove, Minn./University of Notre Dame/New York Islanders) deflected a shot from Casey.
Rutger McGroarty (Lincoln, Neb./University of Michigan/Winnipeg Jets) netted a power-play goal from the doorstep at 5:22 in the second period to extend the U.S. lead to 4-1. Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis./Michigan State University/Tampa Bay Lightning) and Lane Hutson (North Barrington, Ill./Boston University/Montreal Canadiens) picked up helpers on the play.
The U.S. added to its tally at the sixteen-minute mark of the middle frame. Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass./Boston College/Washington Capitals) launched a stretch pass to Perreault who sent a saucer pass across the slot to the blade of Will Smith (Lexington, Mass./Boston College/San Jose Sharks) who capitalized on the two-on-one play.
Perreault netted his second goal of the game with 21 seconds remaining in the period after he batted the puck into the net out of midair on a setup from Smith to send Team USA into the third period with a 6-1 lead.
Moore found the back of the net at 6:34 in the third after he buried a pass from Gauthier and Latvia added a power play marker at 12:48 to account for the 7-2 final.
Fowler backstopped the U.S. victory with 23 saves.
NOTES: Gabe Perreault was named U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA outshot Latvia 41-25 … Team USA was 1-4 on the power play, while Latvia was 1-2 … A total of 12 different players contributed points in Team USA’s win tonight.