LAHTI, Finland - Alex DeBrincat scored with eight minutes remaining and Sonny Milano tallied a goal and an assist as the U.S. National Junior Team defeated Finland, 3-2, here tonight at Isku Arena in Lahti, Finland.
"It was a tremendous win," said Ron Wilson, head coach of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team. "We entered the third trailing so I was really proud of our guys to get a win as rewarding as this with the tournament set to begin Friday."
Both teams traded chances early in the first period - including a shot by Ryan Donato (Scituate, Mass./Harvard University) that rang off the post - but neither could convert.
With one minute remaining in the period and Milano battling for position in front of the net, Colin White (Hanover, Mass./Boston College) collected the loose puck and sent it to an open Christian Dvorak (Palos, Ill./London Knights) who flipped the puck over Finland's goaltender, Kaapo Kahkonen, and in for the 1-0 U.S. lead.
Finland evened the score with a shorthanded breakaway less than two minutes into the second stanza before taking a 2-1 lead six minutes later with a snapshot from the right circle.
Milano drew Team USA even, 2-2, two minutes into the final frame before DeBrincat finished a nice passing play from Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./London Knights) and Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz./ZSC Lions) for the game-winning goal.
Brandon Halverson (Traverse City, Mich./Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds), who started the game, finished with 10 saves on 12 shots, while Alex Nedeljkovic (Parma, Ohio/Niagara IceDogs) played the final 30:00 and saved all 15 shots he faced.
The game was the final tuneup for Team USA in preparation of the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. Tournament play opens Friday (Dec. 26) with Team USA set to face rival Canada at 8 p.m. local/1 p.m. ET in Helsinki Ice Hall.
NOTES: For complete box score, click here ... USA Hockey will announce the final roster for the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team by Dec. 24 ... Use the hashtag #USAWJC on Twitter to join the conversation about the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team ... At the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, the U.S. will compete in a group with Canada, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. All U.S. games will be broadcast live on NHL Network. For more information about the tournament, please click here.
|Date||Opponent||Location||Result||U.S. Player of the Game|
|Sat., Dec. 26||Canada||Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 4-2||Colin White|
|Mon., Dec. 28||Sweden||Helsinki Ice Hall||L, 0-1||Zach Werenski|
|Wed., Dec. 30||Switzerland||Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 10-1||Auston Matthews|
|Thu., Dec. 31||Denmark||Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 4-1||Brandon Carlo|
|Sat., Jan. 2||Czech Republic
|Helsinki Ice Hall||W, 7-0||Nick Schmaltz|
|Mon., Jan. 4||Russia
|Hartwall Arena||L, 1-2||Christian Dvorak|
|Tues. , Jan. 5||Sweden
Bronze Medal Game
|Hartwall Arena||W, 8-3||Anders Bjork|