TORONTO – Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y./Kitchener Rangers) and Jordan Greenway (Canton, N.Y./Boston University) each tallied a goal and an assist as the U.S. National Junior Team defeated Switzerland, 3-2, in the quarterfinals of the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.
“We were fortunate to get the win,” said Bob Motzko (St. Cloud, Minn./St. Cloud State University), head coach of the 2017 U.S. National Junior Team. "A tremendous credit to Switzerland for the heart and courage they showed here tonight. We weren't our best, we know that, but we found a way to make it through and we'll look to get back to our style of hockey here on Wednesday.”
Team USA (5-0-0-0) advances to the semifinals on Wednesday (Jan. 4) against Russia at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Puck drop is slated for 3 p.m. ET and will be televised live on NHL Network.
The U.S. converted on its first power-play opportunity 8:32 into the game when Bracco one-timed a cross-crease feed by Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo./University of Denver) for his second goal in as many games.
U.S. captain Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo./University of Wisconsin) doubled Team USA’s lead just 2:10 later when he poked home a loose puck in front of the net for his first goal of the tournament.
The Swiss cut the U.S. lead in half with 9:13 left in the middle frame on a power-play marker by Nico Hischier.
Four minutes into the final period, Hischier netted his second power-play goal on a wraparound to knot the score, 2-2.
Team USA responded just 18 seconds later when Greenway buried a rebound on the man-advantage off a shot from the point by Charlie McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y./Boston University).
Tyler Parsons (Chesterfield, Mich./London Knights) finished with 19 saves, including a glove stop on a point-blank attempt by Hischier with just over four minutes to play, to earn his third victory of the tournament.
NOTES: Jeremy Bracco was named U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA was outshot by Switzerland, 21-17 while finishing 2-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill ... For full game stats, click here ... The U.S. has now advanced to the semifinals in five of the previous eight IIHF World Junior Championships … At the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, the U.S. competed in Group B alongside Canada, Latvia, Russia and Slovakia All U.S. games will be broadcast live on NHL Network ... For complete coverage of Team USA at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, click here … Use the hashtag #USAWJC on Twitter to join the conversation about the 2017 U.S. National Junior Team.
|Dec. 21||Switzerland||W, 4-3||Pre-Tournament||Oshawa, Ont.|
|Dec. 23||Czech Republic||W, 4-0||Pre-Tournament||Kingston, Ont.|
|Dec. 26||Latvia||W, 6-1||Preliminary||Toronto, Ont.|
|Dec. 28||Slovakia||W, 5-2||Preliminary||Toronto, Ont.|
|Dec. 29||Russia||W, 3-2||Preliminary||Toronto, Ont.|
|Dec. 31||Canada||W, 3-1||Preliminary||Toronto, Ont.|
|Jan. 2||Switzerland||W, 3-2||Quarterfinals||Toronto, Ont.|
|Jan. 4||Russia||3:00 p.m.||Semifinals||Montreal, Que.|
|Jan. 5||TBD||3:30 p.m.||Bronze Medal||Montreal, Que.|
|TBD||8:00 p.m.||Gold Medal||Montreal, Que.|
THE SERIES VS. SWITZERLAND
The United States and Switzerland are meeting for the 23rd time in IIHF World Junior Championship play and first time in the quarterfinal round. All-time, the U.S. is 20-0-0-0-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) against Switzerland. The two teams, which faced off in a pre-tournament game on Dec. 21, met last year in the preliminary round where Team USA topped the Swiss by a 10-1 count.
PRE-TOURNAMENT MEETING: USA 4, SUI 3
In Team USA’s first pre-tournament game at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa, Ontario, the U.S. edged Switzerland, 4-3. Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio/Manitoba Moose) and Erik Foley (Mansfield, Mass./Providence College) each tallied two points, seven other players collected a point, and Tyler Parsons (Chesterfield, Mich./London Knights) made 21 saves in his first international appearance. Team USA was 1-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill while outshooting Switzerland, 32-24.
TEAM USA IN QUARTERFINAL PLAY
In 15 quarterfinal appearances, the U.S. holds an 8-7 record. In last year’s quarterfinal, Team USA blanked the Czech Republic, 7-0, behind a hat trick from Auston Matthews and a 28-save performance from Alex Nedeljkovic. The playoff format was adopted for the IIHF World Junior Championship beginning in 1996. The U.S. has qualified for the playoffs 19 out of 21 years, including 17 of the last 18 tournaments. From 1977-95, teams played each other once in a round-robin format and medals were awarded based on final standings.
SCORING BY COMMITTEE
All 20 skaters for Team USA have registered at least one point so far in this year’s tournament, marking the fourth time in U.S. history that a U.S. National Junior Team has accomplished this feat. Two of the three previous teams went on to claim medals, as the 2013 team won the gold medal while the 1986 team earned the first-ever World Junior Championship medal (bronze) in U.S. history. The other team to accomplish the feat, the 1987 squad, finished in fourth place.
In this year's squad, 12 players have collected more than one point. Clayton Keller (3-4) paces all skaters with seven points; Colin White (4-1) is second with five points and Jordan Greenway (2-2) and Troy Terry (2-2) are tied for third with four points apiece. Each U.S. game has seen at least six players tally a point.
"We said it from day one in Buffalo that we felt we had four lines that could score," said head coach Bob Motzko. "We believe in the guys in this room and know they're all capable of scoring. The players know that, too, which I think keeps someone from squeezing their stick thinking they need to be ‘the guy’. Anybody in there can be ‘the guy’ and that’s what we feel makes us a difficult team to face throughout this tournament.”