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Team USA Defeats Latvia 12-1

By USA Hockey, 12/29/09, 1:30PM EST


U.S National Junior Team improves to 3-0 and clinches quarterfinal berth.

SASKATOON, Sask. - Chris Kreider (Boxford, Mass./Boston College) scored three times and three other U.S. players notched two goals each, as the U.S. National Junior Team defeated Latvia, 12-1, in its third game of the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. The U.S. improved to 3-0-0-0 and clinched a quarterfinal berth with one game remaining in the preliminary round.

"We moved the puck well and did what we had to in the first period," said Dean Blais, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. "I was happy that we finished strong in the final period, because I knew that however we performed would carry over into our next game against Canada."

The U.S. jumped out to a 1-0 lead three minutes into the game when Danny Kristo's (Eden Prairie, Minn./Univ. of North Dakota) wrist shot beat Latvia goalie Janis Kalnins to the glove side. Following a Jason Zucker (Las Vegas, Nev.) tip-in goal, Kristo potted his second of the game for Team USA's first of five power-play goals on the night.

AJ Jenks (Wolverine Lake, Mich.) and Kreider each netted their second goals of the tournament on the power play at 14:40 and 19:03 of the first period.Tyler Johnson (Spokane, Wash.) completed the opening period's scoring with a backhand tally at 19:38 for a 6-0 U.S. lead.

Both teams traded power-play goals in the second period, with Kreider collecting his second of the game with a wrist shot from the slot.

Team USA extended its lead in the third period, as Derek Stepan (Hastings, Minn./Univ. of Wisconsin) scored twice and Jeremy Morin (Auburn, N.Y.) collected a power-play goal of his own. Kreider completed his hat trick on a penalty shot, beating Kalnins low on the forehand with less than two minutes remaining in the game.

U.S. goalie Mike Lee (Roseau, Minn./St. Cloud State Univ.) finished the night with 18 saves, while Kalnins stopped 50 shots.

Next action for Team USA comes Thursday (Dec. 31) at 7 p.m. CST against Canada. The game can be seen live in the U.S. on the NHL Network. It will also be streamed live in the U.S. on

NOTES: Tyler Johnson, who contributed one goal and one assist in the contest, was named Team USA's Player of the Game ... Derek Stepan (2-2) and Kyle Palmieri (Montvale, N.Y./Univ. of Notre Dame/0-4) led Team USA with four points each ... With a win against Canada, the U.S. would clinch first place in Group A and receive a bye into the tournament's semifinal round ... The 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship runs Dec. 26 - Jan. 5 in Regina and Saskatoon, Sask. For Team USA's full schedule, click here... The NHL Network (U.S.) and will air every U.S. game live from Saskatoon ... In other tournament action, the Czech Republic defeated Austria, 7-1, while Canada will take on Slovakia and Russia will face Sweden later in the day. For complete results and stats from the tournament, visit 


More from the game: Blog | Photos 

Video:  Blais | Kreider 
Game highlights

Game 4: vs. Canada 
When: Thursday, Dec. 31, 8 p.m. EST
TV: NHL Network | Webcast:

Game Summary

Scoring By Period

USA 6 - 1 - 5 - 12

LAT 0 - 1 - 0 - 1

First Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Kristo (McRae, Palmieri), 2:30; 2, USA, Zucker (Bourque, Donovan), 9:40; 3, USA, Kristo (McRae, D'Amigo), 11:12 (pp); 4, USA, Jenks (Lashoff, Morin), 14:40 (pp); 5, USA, Kreider (Schroeder, Stepan), 19:02 (pp); 6, USA, Johnson (Lashoff, Gardiner), 19:38. Penalties: LAT, Vilkoits (tripping), 3:55; LAT, Upitis (high-sticking), 10:54; LAT, Mazins (hooking), 13:49; USA, Schroeder (holding), 15:42; LAT, Ulescenko (hooking), 18:07.

Second Period - Scoring: 7, LAT, Kauss (Bukarts, Cinks), 7:00 (pp); 8, USA, Kreider (Schroeder, Stepan), 9:38 (pp). Penalties: LAT, Lipsbergs (hooking), 1:22; USA, Lashoff (high-sticking), 4:25; USA, Warsofsky (slashing), 4:53; USA, Warsofsky (roughing), 4:53; LAT, Freibergs (roughing), 4:53; USA, Bourque (slashing), 5:42; LAT, Upitis (high-sticking), 7:51; USA, Bourque (hooking), 11:46; USA, Team (too-many men); 18:56.

Third Period - Scoring: 9, USA, Stepan (Johnson, Palmieri), 1:22; 10, USA, Zucker (Ramage, Gardiner), 7:49; 11, USA, Stepan (Palmieri, D'Amigo), 9:42; 12, USA, Kreider (penalty shot), 18:46; 13, USA, Morin (Palmieri, Ramage), 19:30 (pp). Penalties: USA, Donovan (high-sticking), 4:11; LAT, Cinks (tripping), 4:57; LAT, Cinks (interference, penalty shot), 18:46; LAT, Mickevics (hooking), 19:10.

Shots By Period 1 2 3 Total
USA 20 17 25 62
LAT 6 6 7 19
Goaltenders (SH/SV) 1 2 3 Total
USA, Lee 60:00 6-6 6-5 7-7 19-18
LAT, Kalnins 60:00 20-14 17-16 25-20 62-50

Power Play: USA 5-8; LAT 1-7
Penalties: USA 8-16; LAT 9-18
Attendance: 11, 494