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U.S. National Junior Team Falls to Finland, 4-1, at IIHF World Junior Championship

By USA Hockey, 12/28/11, 9:45PM EST


Saad Nets Lone U.S. Goal

EDMONTON, Alta. -- Brandon Saad (Gibsonia, Pa./Saginaw Spirit) scored early in the third period to tie the game, 1-1, but the 2012 U.S. National Junior Team eventually fell to Finland, 4-1, this afternoon at Rexall Place.

With the loss, Team USA moves to 1-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) overall at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. The U.S. will face the Czech Republic on Friday (Dec. 30) in its third preliminary-round game of the tournament. The game, to be televised on NHL Network U.S., will start at 3:30 p.m. EST.

"I was happy to see us come back early in the third period," said Dean Blais, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. "But we just couldn't get enough going, and Finland's goalie played well."

After the first two periods, Finland had a 1-0 lead despite Team USA holding a 24-9 shot advantage.

The U.S. tied the score, 1-1, just 19 seconds into the third period. Off of a faceoff win by Charlie Coyle (East Weymouth, Mass./Boston Univ.), Emerson Etem (Long Beach, Calif./Medicine Hat Tigers) located the puck and flung a centering pass across the slot. The pass connected with Saad, who tipped the puck past Finland goalie Sami Aittokallio.

Finland went on to score three times in the third period, however, to pull away with the victory. U.S. goalie John Gibson (Pittsburgh, Pa./Kitchener Rangers) made 23 saves, while Finland's Aittokallio stopped 38 shots in the win.

NOTES: Jarred Tinordi (Millersville, Md./London Knights) was named Team USA's Player of the Game ... Team USA finished 0-for-2 on the power play, while Finland was 0-for-4 with the man advantage ... In other tournament action later today, Sweden will take on Switzerland, Canada will face off against the Czech Republic, and Russia will play Slovakia ... NHL Network U.S. will televise all Team USA games in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship and 15 games total in the event. The U.S. National Junior Team is coming off back-to-back medals in the IIHF World Junior Championship for the first time ever, having earned a bronze medal in last year's event in Buffalo, N.Y., and a gold medal at the 2010 World Junior Championship in Saskatoon, Sask. ... Dean Blais, head men's ice hockey coach at the University of Nebraska Omaha, is serving as head coach of the 2012 U.S. National Junior Team. He is assisted by Scott Sandelin, head men's ice hockey coach at the University of Minnesota Duluth; Tom Ward, head ice hockey coach of the Shattuck-St. Mary's School's boys' prep team; and Joe Exter, assistant men's ice hockey coach at Ohio State University ... Jim Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations, is serving as the general manager of Team USA for the third consecutive year. Tim Taylor (Guilford, Conn.), former U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team head coach and longtime Yale University men's ice hockey team head coach, is also serving his third straight year as Team USA's director of player personnel ... The U.S. National Junior Team blog will provide daily updates with game recaps, photos and multimedia content. The blog can be found here ... Use the hashtag #USAWJC to join the conversation on Twitter.


Scoring By Period

FIN 0 - 1 - 3 - 4
USA 0 - 0 - 1 - 1

First Period - Scoring: None. Penalties: FIN, Hakanpaa (hooking), 9:50; USA, Coyle (slashing), 12:59; FIN, Ma. Granlund (hooking), 13:31; USA, Zucker (slashing), 14:02.

Second Period - Scoring: 1, FIN, Salomaki (Armia), 1:21. Penalties: USA, Tynan (roughing), 6:03; FIN, Riikola (roughing), 6:03.

Third Period - Scoring: 2, USA, Saad (Etem, Coyle), 0:19; 3, FIN, Armia (Mi. Granlund, Ristolainen), 10:53; 4, FIN, Ma. Granlund (Hakanpaa, Pulkkinen), 11:22; 5, FIN, Armia (Donskoi), 16:27. Penalties: FIN, Riikola (holding), 8:54; USA, Gibson (interference), 9:09; USA, Team (too-many-men), 19:41.

Shots by Period 1 2 3 Total
FIN 4 5 18 24
USA 8 16 15 38
Goaltenders (SH/SV) 1 2 3 Total
FIN, Aittokallio 60:00 8-8 16-16 15-14 39-38
USA, Gibson 60:00 4-4 5-4 18-15 27-23

Power Play: FIN 0-4; USA 0-2
Penalties: FIN 4-8; USA 5-10
Officials: Referees - Devin Klein (USA), Brent Reiber (SUI); Linesmen - Kiel Murchison (CAN), Milan Novak (SVK)
Attendance: 14,000

Team USA 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship Schedule Dec. 26 - Jan. 5 • Alberta, Canada

Date Opponent Location* Time (MST)
Mon., Dec. 26 Denmark Edmonton 6 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 28 Finland Edmonton 1:30 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 30 Czech Republic Edmonton 1:30 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 31 Canada Edmonton 6 p.m.
Mon., Jan. 2 Quarterfinals Calgary TBD
Tues., Jan. 3 Semifinals Calgary TBD
Thurs., Jan. 5 Bronze-Medal Game Calgary 1:30 p.m.
  Gold-Medal Game Calgary 6 p.m.

*All games in Edmonton will be played at Rexall Place. All games in Calgary will be played at Scotiabank Saddledome.
^Pre-tournament game