HELSINKI, Finland — Four different U.S. players scored and Brandon Halverson (Traverse City, Mich./Sault Ste. Marie) made 16 saves as the U.S. National Junior Team defeated Denmark, 4-1, in its final preliminary round game at the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland.
With the win, the Team USA secured second place in Group A and will play its quarterfinal game on Jan. 2 against the third-place team (either Czech Republic or Finland) in Group B.
"It wasn't the start we wanted, but I'm happy with the way we turned things around," said Ron Wilson, head coach of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team. "Our players should feel good about leaving this group with three wins. We'll enjoy this tonight and then turn our attention to the quarterfinal."
Denmark opened the scoring after capitalizing on an intercepted pass at 10:14, but Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Zurich) put home a loose puck after a series of chances in front of the Denmark net with three minutes remaining in the first period to make it 1-1.
Team USA took a 2-1 lead 4:02 into the second stanza when Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y./Lake Erie) buried a rebound off a Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill./Miami University) shot.
Denmark’s Niklas Andersen was whistled for tripping in the final seconds of the second period, giving the U.S. a lengthy power play to start the third frame but Denmark killed off the penalty.
At 5:40, Matthews fired a rocket from the blue line that was redirected by Colin White (Hanover, Mass./Boston College) to make it 3-1. The goal came just seconds after an apparent goal by White was waived off after video review.
Two minutes later, Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis./University of Notre Dame) took a pass from Milano in the low slot and redirected it into the lower right corner of the net to account for the 4-1 final.
Four U.S. players had two-point games, including Matthews (1-1), Milano (1-1), Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./London) (0-2) and White (1-1).
NOTES: Brandon Carlo (Colorado Springs, Colo./Tri-City) was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... Team USA outshot Denmark, 44-17 ... For a complete box score, click here ... The U.S. is 3-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship ... For more information on the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team, including a full roster, click here ... Use the hashtag #USAWJC on Twitter to join the conversation about the U.S. National Junior Team ... The U.S. is competing in Group A 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.
Check back for highlights and post-game comments from Team USA.
|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|