Bracco, Team USA outlasts Russia for third straight win, 3-2, in World Junior action


TORONTO –  Clayton Keller (St. Louis, Mo./Boston University) tallied two points (1-1) and Tyler Parsons (Chesterfield, Mich./London Knights) made 25 saves as the U.S. National Junior Team edged Russia, 3-2, Thursday at Air Canada Centre in its third preliminary-round game of the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.

Rangers forward Jeremy Bracco registered two shots on goal in the win for the Americans.

“That was an exciting game to be a part of and I’m real proud of these guys for the effort they gave,” said Bob Motzko (St. Cloud, Minn./St. Cloud State University), head coach of the 2017 U.S. National Junior Team. “It was a quick turnaround from yesterday, but the guys in this locker room continue to rise to every challenge that comes their way. We’ve got a chance to win our group on Saturday and position ourselves nicely for the quarterfinal and I know we’ll be ready.”

Team USA (3-0-0-0) can clinch first place in Group B with a victory in its final preliminary-round game against Canada on Saturday (Dec. 31). Puck drop is slated for 3:30 p.m. ET and will be televised live on NHL Network.

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 26: during the World junior Hockey Championships at the Air Canada Centre. (Photo by Dan Hamilton/Icon Sportswire)

Keller opened the scoring for the U.S. 4:14 into play. Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass./Boston College) fed a cross-ice pass to the left faceoff dot for Keller, who deked around a defender and slid a backhand shot past goaltender Ilya Samsonov for the score.

Russia evened the game with 8:01 left in the first period on a shorthanded tally by Kirill Urajov on a two-on-one rush. Despite a number of chances in the second half of the frame and outshooting the Russians 18-6, the teams entered the first intermission tied.

The U.S. regained the lead 4:03 into the second stanza on a power-play goal by Colin White (Hanover, Mass./Boston College) when he put home a rebound off a shot from the point by Charlie McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y./Boston University).

Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo./University of Denver) gave Team USA a two-goal advantage at 11:41 of the middle frame. Erik Foley (Mansfield, Mass./Providence College) carried the puck into the corner before delivering a centering pass for Terry, who deflected it past Samsonov for his second goal in as many games.

Russia cut the U.S. lead in half when Kirill Kaprizov tipped a shot past Parsons on the power play with 2:43 left in the second period.

Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn./University of Connecticut) was awarded a penalty shot with 1:29 remaining after it was ruled that Russia deliberately dislodged the net, but his attempt was poke checked away by Samonov to keep it a one-goal game.

Parsons finished with 10 saves in the final period, including a pair of sprawling stops on a Russian power play midway through the frame, to preserve the 3-2 victory for the United States and earn his second victory of the tournament.

NOTES: Troy Terry was named U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA outshot Russia, 37-27 while finishing 1-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill … For full game stats, click here … With the win, the U.S. clinched a spot in the quarterfinals … The U.S. snapped a five-game losing streak to Russia in tournament play … 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.

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