Joel Farabee (Cicero, N.Y./Boston University) scored a natural hat trick in the first period, while Jason Robertson (Northville, Mich./Niagara IceDogs) had four points as the U.S. National Junior Team defeated Kazakhstan, 8-2, Friday in Victoria, B.C., at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Six different players scored goals for the U.S. to power the squad to its second consecutive win in preliminary play.
"We've talked about taking steps in this tournament and we took a good one here tonight as a team," said Mike Hastings, head coach of the 2019 U.S. National Junior Team. "Up and down the lineup we had contributions and that's the most important thing. Now, we get some rest, take care of our bodies and in the morning turn our attention to Sweden."
The U.S. (2-0-0-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) continues preliminary round play tomorrow (Dec. 29) when it takes on Sweden (2-0-0-0) in a meeting of undefeated Group B opponents. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. local time (10:30 p.m. ET) and will be televised live on NHL Network.
Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass./Boston College) opened the scoring just 1:37 into the game. Ryan Poehling (Lakeville, Minn./St. Cloud State University) won a faceoff back to Wahlstrom who immediately fired a wrist through shot into the top left corner past the Kazakhstan netminder Vladislav Nurek.
Kazakhstan answered just 18 seconds later, however, when Andrei Buyalski took a feed from Valeri Orekhov, slipped past Team USA's defenders and beat U.S. goaltender Cayden Primeau (Voorhees, N.J./Northeastern University).
The U.S. re-took its lead at the 5:13 mark with a powerplay goal. Quinn Hughes (Orlando, Fla./University of Michigan) and Robertson started the play by moving the puck across the top of the zone before dishing to Farabee for his first goal of the game.
Just 2:40 later, Farabee tallied again by finishing an initial pair of scoring chances from Josh Norris (Oxford, Mich./University of Michigan). Norris created the play by skating down the right boards and throwing the puck on goal for a chance that was denied. Robertson picked up the puck to the right of goal, curled away from goal and found Farabee in the slot to make it 3-1.
With 7:55 left in the frame, Farabee completed his natural hat trick again off a pass from Robertson. With Kazakhstan attempting to clear its zone, Robertson was able to keep the puck in and find Farabee alone behind Kazakhstan's defenders and below the hashmarks for an uncontested goal.
After 20 minutes of play, the U.S. carried a 4-1 lead and 21-6 shot advantage into the first intermission.
Team USA continued its scoring pace just 5:46 into the second period when Sasha Chmelevski (Northville, Mich./Ottawa 67's) converted Team USA's second powerplay goal of the night. Captain Mikey Anderson (Roseville, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth) was behind the play, holding the puck at the point before working it down low to Poehling who drew a defender towards him before dishing to Chmelevski at the top of the crease for a 5-1 lead.
Five minutes later, Poehling tallied on an individual effort that saw him disrupt a play in the neutral zone, carry the puck down the right wall and use a power move to drive the net before chipping the puck into the cage.
Madden extended the lead to 7-1 with 7:49 left in the period when he pivoted behind the net and emerged on the other side of the frame to place a shot over the shoulder of Yeremeyev. Play went on for almost a minute before the buzzer sounded, cueing replay review and eventual goal.
The U.S. converted again just 23 seconds into the third period when Norris finished a pass from Robertson for Team USA's eighth and final goal.
Primeau made a pair of impressive saves in the first half of the final frame. The first came off the stick of Dias Guseinov, who took a slapshot off of a drop-pass that was wired for the net before Primeau deflected it away with his blocker. Primeau then made another save on Batyrlan Muratov after he put the puck through his legs and fired a shot on goal.
With 10:04 to play in regulation, Dmitri Mitenkov tallied Kazakhstan’s second goal by Mitenkov pounced on a rebound off of an initial shot from Valeri Orekhov to account for the 8-2 final.
Primeau made 11 saves in the win.
NOTES: Forward Jason Robertson was tabbed U.S. Player of the Game ... The U.S. outshot Kazakhstan 66-13 and went 2-for-6 on the power play and killed off all five of its penalties. For complete game statistics, click here ... Farabee’s natural hat trick occurred in a span of 6 minutes and 52 seconds ... John Vanbiesbrouck (Detroit, Mich.), assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey, is serving as the general manager of the U.S. National Junior Team ... The U.S. enters the tournament having medaled in three straight World Junior Championships for the first time in U.S. history after earning gold in 2017 and bronze in 2018 and 2016 ... NHL Network is the official U.S. broadcaster of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. For more information about the tournament, click here.