BONNYVILLE, Alberta – The United States Junior Select Team picked up its second straight win in the 2018 World Junior A Challenge on Wednesday afternoon when it defeated Canada East, 7-3, at R.J. Lalonde Arena.
The U.S. weathered an early storm, falling behind 2-0 three minutes into play before scoring seven of the next eights goals to outlast Canada East. Cal Kiefiuk (Macomb, Mich.) scored the game-winning goal in the second period with a power-play tally.
“It was a tough start but a great response by our group,” Anthony Noreen, U.S. Junior Select Team head coach said. “Our power play executed well and we did a great job of playing the right way when we were ahead late."
The U.S. Junior Select Team (2-0-1-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) will wrap up preliminary round play on Friday (Dec. 14) when they face off against Russia. Puck drop is slated for 2 p.m. local time/4 p.m. ET, with the game streamed live on HockeyTV.
Goals came early and often, with six goals tallied on the first 15 shots of the contest.
Canada East struck first, with John Beaton wristing home a power-play goal 50 seconds into the game. Derek Dicaire added another, pouncing on a puck that squirted into the slot to put Canada East up 2-0, 3:05 into the game.
The U.S. showed some resiliency storming back with a pair of power-play goals. The U.S. scored four with the man advantage in total, three of them while on a 5-on-3.
Bobby Brink (Minnetonka, Minn.) scored the first one, unleashing a one-timer from the left circle 6:00 into the first period. Another power-play goal came courtesy of a Parker Ford (Wakefield, R.I.), when Ford’s shot deflected off the skate of Robert Mastrosimone (East Islip, N.Y.) and by Canada East goaltender Jack Watson.
The U.S. grabbed its first lead when defenseman Zac Jones (Glen Allen, Va.) skated in from the right circle, faked a wrist shot and fired a backhander top shelf to put the U.S. up 3-2 with 7:24 remaining in the first period.
However, Canada East tied it up just 1:03 later when Riley McCutcheon took a feed off an odd-man rush that trickled past U.S. goaltender Isaiah Saville (Anchorage, Alaska).
The offensively charged first frame concluded knotted at three goals apiece, the U.S. holding a 12-8 shot advantage.
The U.S. regained its lead when Kiefiuk's one-timer found the back of the net on a 5-on-3 power play.
Kiefiuk scored another goal with 6:32 remaining in the second period, collecting a pass from Trevor Janicke (Maple Grove, Minn.) off a 2-on-1 rush and firing it past Watson.
The U.S. scored its third 5-on-3 goal with 2:08 remaining in the middle stanza when Mastrosimone redirected a pass at the top of the crease into the net, assisted by Brink and Luke Johnson (Edina, Minn.). Johnson had three helpers in the game.
Pinto scored the lone goal of the final frame 1:18 into the third period, converting on a giveaway and firing home a shot moments after entering the zone.
Saville turned aside 17 shots, while Watson had 32 saves for Canada East.
The U.S. had seven players produce a multi-point game, with 11 players collecting at least a point. Mastrosimone (2G, 1A) and Luke Johnson (3A) each had three points to pace the team.
In claiming their eighth-straight win over Canada East in World Junior A Challenge competition, the U.S. Junior Select Team clinched a spot in Saturday's semifinals.
NOTES: The U.S. outshot the Canada East, 39-20 ... Luke Johnson was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... The U.S. went 4-for-9 on the power play and killed off four of five Canada East power play attempts ... Click here for complete game statistics from tonight's game ...The World Junior A Challenge is in its 13th year, and the U.S. is competing for the 12th time ... The U.S. is competing against Canada East, Canada West, the Czech Republic and Russia in this year's tournament ... Team USA has captured the World Junior A Challenge title seven times (2008-10, 2012-14, 2016).
|Date||Opponent||Venue||Location||Time (Local/ET)/Result||Streaming Coverage|
|Fri., Dec. 7||Canada East*||Cold Lake Energy Centre||Cold Lake, Alta.||W, 3-1||HockeyTV|
|Sun., Dec. 9||Canada West||R.J. Lalonde Arena||Bonnyville, Alta.||SOL, 1-2||HockeyTV|
|Tues., Dec. 11||Czech Republic||R.J. Lalonde Arena||Bonnyville, Alta.||W, 4-2||HockeyTV|
|Wed., Dec. 12||Canada East||R.J. Lalonde Arena||Bonnyville, Alta.||W, 7-3||HockeyTV|
|Fri., Dec. 14||Russia||R.J. Lalonde Arena||Bonnyville, Alta.||L, 3-4||HockeyTV|
|Sat., Dec. 15||Canada West (Semifinal)||R.J. Lalonde Arena||Bonnyville, Alta.||OTW, 3-2||HockeyTV|
|Sun., Dec. 16||Russia (Championship)||R.J. Lalonde Arena||Bonnyville, Alta.||W, 2-0||--|