U.S. opens World Hockey Challenge with win
The U.S. National Under-17 Team (1-0-0) received goals from seven different players and netminder Brandon Maxwell (Winter Park, Fla.) stopped all 23 shots he faced to secure an 8-0 win over Canada's Team Atlantic in both teams' opening game of the 2008 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario, on Saturday afternoon.
"It was a really strong team effort today," said Ron Rolston, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team. "We have to play that way consistently in the coming days, as this is a really tough tournament."
Team USA lit up the scoreboard just 1:28 into the game when Drew Shore (Denver, Colo.) notched a shorthanded marker. Shore stole the puck from a Team Atlantic defender near the blue line, and from there he was in all alone on goaltender Jonathan Connely. He then made a move to his forehand in the slot, and used his backhand to flip the puck up high past Connely on the stick side.
Sam Calabrese (Park Ridge, Ill.) staked Team USA to a 2-0 lead at the 6:43 mark of the opening frame off assists from Kenny Ryan (Franklin Village, Mich.) and Richie Crowley (Canton, Mass.). Calabrese put a shot from the center of the right circle into an open net after Connely left his post for the Team Pacific bench, as he believed a delayed penalty was about to be called. Upon review, no penalty was called during the sequence.
The United States rattled off three goals in the first five minutes of the second stanza to open up a commanding 5-0 advantage. Jeremy Morin (Auburn, N.Y.) netted an unassisted goal at 3:32 after he beat Connely with a low shot from the left circle. Kyle Palmieri (Montvale, N.J.) scored at 4:35 when he unleashed a high wrist shot by Connely from the right point. Steven Whitney (Reading, Mass.) and Shore each assisted on the goal. Whitney notched a goal of his own just 58 seconds later, courtesy of another helper from Shore.
Team Pacific then replaced Connely with Alex Newman between the pipes.
Team USA added three two more goals in the middle frame — one from Morin, one from Jerry D'Amigo (Binghamton, N.Y.) and another off the stick of Kevin Lynch (Grosse Pointe, Mich.). Nick Mattson (Chaska, Minn.) provided a perfect one-timer feed that Morin buried from the left circle, on the power play. A.J. Treais (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) also was credited with an assist on the play. D'Amigo banged home his own rebound, thanks to an assist from Lynch. Lynch tacked on his marker with 1:27 left in the session off help from D'Amigo and Beau Schmitz (Howell, Mich.).
Neither squad scored in the third period, but Team Pacific had its best chance of the game during a 5-on-3 power play. Maxwell turned away several point-blank shots to preserve his first shutout of the year for Team USA.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team continues the 2008 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge Sunday (Dec. 30) against Russia at Strathroy Arena in Strathroy, Ontario. Puck drop is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.
NOTES: Kenny Ryan extended his point streak (4g, 4a) to seven games ... Drew Shore (1g, 2a), Jeremy Morin (2g), Jerry D'Amigo (1g, 1a), Kevin Lynch (1g, 1a) and Steven Whitney (1g, 1a) each recorded multi-point games ... Whitney was named Team USA's player of the game ... Morin pushed his team-best season point total to 39 (24g, 15a) ... The 56 shots registered by the U.S. National Under-17 Team was its highest total of the 2007-08 season.