TORONTO – Five different players scored and 12 players in total tallied points to lead the U.S. National Junior Team to a 5-2 victory over Slovakia at the Air Canada Centre in its second preliminary-round game of the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.
Jeremy Bracco, who scored in Team USA’s 6-1 opening game win over Latvia, was held pointless on Wednesday night vs. Slovakia but registered three shots on goal.
“Our guys came to play and it was nice to see them get rewarded,” said Bob Motzko (St. Cloud, Minn./St. Cloud State University), head coach of the 2017 U.S. National Junior Team. “Nobody’s satisfied though and I think that’s the right attitude as we continue here in the tournament. We know our best hockey is yet to come and we’ll look for more improvements tomorrow versus Russia.”
Team USA (2-0-0-0) returns to action on Thursday, December 29 against Russia. Puck drop is set for 3:30 p.m. ET and will be televised live on NHL Network.
Tanner Laczynski (Shorewood, Ill./Ohio State University) opened the scoring for the U.S. 10:15 into the game when he swiped home his own rebound just outside the crease off an initial pass from Joe Cecconi (Youngstown, N.Y./University of Michigan).
Team USA doubled its lead with three minutes left in the frame when Colin White (Hanover, Mass./Boston College) netted his second goal in as many games on an odd-man rush. Clayton Keller (St. Louis, Mo./Boston University) entered the zone on the left wing and flipped a saucer pass to a streaking White, who one-timed the puck past Slovakian netminder Matej Tomek for the score.
Slovakia cut the U.S. advantage in half with 1:52 remaining in the stanza on a power-play marker by Martin Fehervary.
Team USA took control of the contest in the middle frame, netting three goals and outshooting Slovakia, 18-2. Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn./University of Connecticut) began the scoring 2:03 into the period when he collected a pass in front of the net by Kieffer Bellows (Edina, Minn./Boston University), turned to his forehand and lifted the puck past Tomek glove-side.
Charlie McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y./Boston University) made the score 4-1 at 8:39 of the second period when he one-timed a shot from the point off a pass from Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio/Manitoba Moose). Just 1:36 later, Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo./University of Denver) accounted for Team USA’s fifth goal of the game with a power-play marker from the slot.
Michal Roman tallied with :37 remaining for Slovakia to account for the 5-2 final.
Joseph Woll (St. Louis, Mo./Boston College) made 18 saves while backstopping Team USA to the victory.
NOTES: Jack Roslovic was named U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA outshot Slovakia, 50-20, and finished 1-for-5 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill … For full game stats, click here … At the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, the U.S. is competing 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.