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U.S. wins 2018 World Junior A Challenge championship

By, 12/16/18, 6:30PM EST


Saville records shutout as U.S. tops Russia, 2-0

BONNYVILLE, Alta. - Bobby Brink (Minnetonka, Minn.) scored the game-winning goal for Team USA as the U.S. Junior Select Team topped Russia, 2-0, in Bonnyville to win the 2018 World Junior A Challenge.

"This was the most unbelievable experience of my coaching career," Anthony Noreen, U.S. Junior Select Team head coach said. "We had all the right people in place, both staff and players, to reach our ultimate goal. We stuck together, believed in each other and got the job done."

Tonight's win marks the fifth World Junior A Challenge title for the U.S. Junior Select Team over the last seven years. The U.S. has now claimed the championship eight times (2008-10, 2012-14, 2016, 2018), finished second once (2017) and third three times (2007, 2011, 2015). 

The U.S. struck first just 2:52 into the game after a high-sticking penalty on Russia gave Team USA an early power play. Brink sent a cross-ice pass to Matt Brown (Wood-Ridge, N.J.) who fired a wrist shot on net. Yaroslav Askarov made the initial save, but the U.S. had plenty of traffic in front and Brink was on the doorstep to fire home the rebound and give Team USA an early 1-0 lead. 

The two teams traded chances throughout the first with Isaiah Saville (Anchorage, Alaska) standing tall in net for Team USA. Both teams recorded six shots on goal in the first stanza and the period would end with the U.S. leading Russia, 1-0.

Both teams played the second period with a strong emphasis on defending, as neither team could find the back of the net. Both goaltenders were perfect, with Saville recording 10 saves for Team USA.

The two teams continued to trade chances during the third period as Saville remained unbeaten. The U.S. took a penalty for too many men on the ice with 4:52 remaining in the stanza and were forced to kill a crucial penalty in the closing minutes of the contest.

The Russians continued to throw pucks towards Saville, but Team USA blocked several shots to keep the lead.

After the expiration of the penalty, the Russians were forced to pull Askarov in the final minutes. As the clock continued to wind down, Saville answered the bell and made more crucial saves for Team USA. 

With Russia continuing to press, Brown collected the puck and fed a pass to Trevor Janicke (Maple Grove, Minn.) who fired a shot into the empty net to close out the contest and clinch the 2018 World Junior A Challenge title.

Saville made 25 saves on as many shots and was named U.S. Player of the Game. Brink was named the Most Valuable Player at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge.

NOTES: The U.S. recorded 18 shots on goal while Russia recorded 25 ... The U.S. went 1-for-1 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill ... Click here for complete game statistics from tonight's game ... The U.S. competed 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 eight times (2008-10, 2012-14, 2016, 2018) ... NHL Network will re-air the championship game of World Junior A Challenge tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET.

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2018 WJAC

WJAC History

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 --