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U.S. Captures 5-4 Shootout Win Over Slovakia in Youth Olympics Opener

By USA Hockey, 01/27/24, 2:30AM EST


Team USA to face Czechia Monday

USA against Slovakia in the Youth Olympics

GANGWON, South Korea — Behind a pair of goals from Zane Torre (Ladera Ranch, Calif.), the U.S. Youth Olympic Men's Hockey Team skated past Slovakia, 5-4, in the shootout in its opening contest of the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games at the Gangneung Hockey Centre on Saturday.

"We were extremely pleased with the start of the game," said Joe Bonnett (Canton, Mich.) head coach of the U.S. Youth Olympic Men’s Hockey Team. "The team showed a lot of resolve fighting until the end. It was an exciting comeback and a great way to start the tournament." 

Team USA struck first just 1:37 into the opening frame. Torre snuck a low-angle wrist shot past Slovakian goaltender Samuel Hrenak for the game’s first goal. Luke Schairer (Charlotte, N.C.) and Aurelio Garcia (Romeoville, Ill.) picked up assists on the goal.

Jakub Syrny tied the game at 1-1 for Slovakia at 11:36 in the first period.

Knotted at 1-1 heading into the middle period, the U.S. shut down an early Slovakian power play to keep the game tied. 

Shortly after killing off the Slovakian power play, the U.S. capitalized on a power play of its own, taking a 2-1 off a goal from JP Hurlbert (Allen, Texas) at 3:43 in the second. Mikey Berchild (Excelsior, Minn.) passed to AJ Francisco (Hermantown, Minn.) on the blue line, who set up Hurlbert for a one-timer that beat Hrenak stick-side.  

Slovakia closed out the second scoring three unanswered goals to go up 4-2 heading into the third. Jonas Durco and Kristian Reznicak scored within two minutes of each other, before Reznicak added a second tally with 0:46 remaining in the middle stanza to put Slovakia ahead, 4-2. 

Cole Bumgarner (Albertville, Minn.) brought the U.S. within one at 6:57 in the final period. Jackson Marthaler (Superior, Wis.) stopped the puck behind the goal before Logan Stuart (Los Angeles, Calif.) sent a backhand no-look pass for Bumgarner to hammer home in the slot.


Late in the third, the U.S. pulled the goaltender in favor of the extra attacker for a six-on-four advantage on the power play. With 54 seconds remaining in regulation, Berchild found Parker Trottier (Edina, Minn.) who teed up a one-timer for Torre from the slot to tie the score 4-4 and send the game to a three-round shootout. 

Berchild and Francisco scored in the shootout to secure a victory for Team USA.

Xavier Wendt (Plymouth, Minn.) stopped 16 shots in goal.

NOTES: Team USA outshot Slovakia, 39-20… Team USA faces Czechia in its second preliminary round contest on Monday, Jan. 29 at 2:00 p.m./12:00 a.m. (Local/EST).

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