The 2019 U.S. National Junior Team notebook includes daily entries of Team USA's journey to its silver-medal finish and its fourth-straight medal in tournament play, an unprecedented streak for the United States. The journey begins on Dec. 14 in Everett, Wash., and includes a pair of pre-tournament stops in Kamloops and Langley, B.C., before including two tournament stops in Victoria and Vancouver, B.C.
Today marks departure day for the 2019 U.S. National Junior Team, which saw its tournament close with a silver medal last night after a 3-2 setback to Finland.
"We knew from day one that this group had something special, and even though we didn't play the perfect game, it was almost enough," said Mike Hastings, head coach of the 2019 U.S. National Junior Team. "There's no doubt this stings, especially with the way we came back from a two-goal deficit, but there's a lot this group can be proud of in helping the United States earn a fourth-straight medal in this tournament. These players earned a medal for our country and it won't be their last. This is the future of USA Hockey and I think I speak for our nation when I say we're excited to see these players one day represent our country again and I have no doubt they'll one day bring gold home."
Team USA's (5-0-1-1/W-OTW-OTL-L) silver-medal finish continues its unprecedented medal streak in tournament play after winning gold in 2017 and earning bronze-medal finishes in 2016 and 2018. The U.S. now has 12 medals in tournament play, including four gold medals (2004, 2010, 2013, 2017), two silver medals (1997, 2019) and six bronze medals (1986, 1992, 2007, 2011, 2016, 2018).
GOLD-MEDAL GAME: USA 2, FIN 3
Sasha Chmelevski (Northville, Mich./Ottawa 67’s) and Josh Norris (Oxford, Mich./University of Michigan) scored and Cayden Primeau (Voorhees, N.J./Northeastern University) turned aside 28 shots but the U.S. National Junior Team fell to Finland, 3-2, in the gold-medal game of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. Team USA's two goals came less than 2 minutes apart midway through the third period. For the full game recap, click here.
POEHLING TABBED TOURNAMENT MVP
Following the game, Ryan Poehling (Lakeville, Minn./St. Cloud State University) was named Tournament MVP and earned the Director Award as Best Forward, finishing with five goals and three assists. In Team USA's 5-4 preliminary overtime loss to Sweden, Poehling led a four-goal comeback with an assist and a natural hat trick in the final 10:26 of regulation. Poehling is just the fourth-ever U.S. player to earn Tournament MVP honors after Zach Parise (2004), John Gibson (2013) and Casey Mittelstadt (2018). It marks the first time a U.S. player has earned the honor in back-to-back years.
It is gold-medal gameday for Team USA. The U.S. (5-0-1-0) meets Finland (4-0-0-2) tonight in the gold-medal game of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. The two teams, which met last Monday (4-1, USA) are meeting in the gold-medal game for the first time in tournament history. Tonight's game, which will be televised live on NHL Network, is set for 5 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET) here at Rogers Arena.
DAY FINALLY COMES
For the U.S. players and staff, this is a day that everyone has been working towards since its initial get-together at the 2018 World Junior Summer Showcase in Kamloops, British Columbia. The goal of reaching this day was reinforced on Dec. 14, when the initial U.S. preliminary roster and staff convened in Everett, Wash., for training camp.
"When we got together on the (Dec.) 14th, we said this was the goal, to make it to the gold-medal game and our players made that a reality here tonight," said Mike Hastings, head coach of the 2019 U.S. National Junior Team. "Give credit to Russia, who gave us everything we could handle. We battled through, earned a hard-fought win and now have a chance to go after what we came here for and that's a gold medal."
U.S. EDGES RUSSIA, 2-1, IN SEMIS
Yesterday, the U.S. generated a 2-0 lead off goals from Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass./Boston College) and Sasha Chmelevski (Northville, Mich./Ottawa 67's) while Cayden Primeau (Voorhees, N.J./Northeastern University) turned aside 34 shots to lead the U.S. to a 2-1 victory over Russia. The win was Team USA's third-straight over Russia in playoff-round action and its fourth-straight against the Russians in tournament play. For the game recap, click here.
TOP 3 U.S. Players
Following its semifinal win over Russia yesterday, Ryan Poehling (Lakeville, Minn./St. Cloud State), captain Mikey Anderson (Roseville, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth) and forward Jason Robertson (Northville, Mich./Niagara IceDogs) were tabbed Team USA's Top Three Players of the Tournament.