The U.S. National Under-17 Team used four power-play goals and two shorthanded markers to secure a 6-2 win over Russia in its second preliminary-round game of the 2008 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge at the Gemini Sportsplex Sunday afternoon.
"I thought we played a solid game today," said Ron Rolston, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team. "We finished off our opportunities early in the game and that helped keep the momentum on our side. Our penalty kill was strong throughout and that made a big difference as well."
Team USA erupted with three goals in the opening frame — one shorthanded marker and two power-play goals.
Drew Shore (Denver, Colo.) started the scoring with his second shorthanded tally of the tournament four minutes into the frame off an assist from Kyle Palmieri (Montvale, N.J.). Shore and Palmieri teamed up during a 2-on-1 break and Shore put the puck through the legs of Russian netminder Eduard Reyzvikh. Steven Whitney (Reading, Mass.) netted his second goal in as many days at 6:08 when he sent a high wrist shot from the slot past Reyzvikh on the glove side. Jeremy Morin (Auburn, N.Y.) registered his team-leading third marker of the tournament after his shot from the left point ended up in the top right-hand corner of the net. Nick Mattson (Chaska, Minn.) and A.J. Treais (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) assisted on the goal.
Reyzvikh then vacated the Russian net in favor of Dmitry Shikin after making seven saves in 10 shots.
The Russians' best scoring chance came near the midway point of the period as they were given a 5-on-3 power play opportunity. Team USA's penalty killing unit came through, however, to preserve a three-goal advantage heading into the first intermission.
Russia got on the scoreboard just 37 seconds into the second stanza, courtesy of Sergey Chvanov's unassisted goal off a rebound.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team responded at the 7:50 mark of the middle period when Ryan Bourque (Boxford, Mass.) chipped in his team's second shorthanded goal of the game. He skated the puck up the left wing and unleashed a pinpoint wrister from the circle that beat Shikin high on the glove side. Sam Calabrese (Park Ridge, Ill.) earned the lone assist on the play.
Maxim Kitsin provided a power-play goal for the Russians 1:26 later to make it a 4-2 contest.
Brandon Maxwell (Winter Park, Fla.) made several crucial saves chances in the later stages of the stanza, including a sequence where he stoned Kitsin on a breakaway with less than eight minutes to go in the frame.
Team USA built a 5-2 lead at 9:17 of the third period, thanks to a power-play goal from Jerry D'Amigo (Binghamton, N.Y.). D'Amigo stuffed a shallow-angle shot to the left of the Russian net up high over Shikin's right shoulder. Mattson was credited with the lone assist, his second of the game.
Treais added one more tally with a man advantage for the United States at the 11:03 mark, off helpers from D'Amigo and Mattson. Mattson sent a pass from the left point to D'Amigo in front of the net, who quickly directed a pass to Treais across the low slot. Treais tapped the puck through the five hole to complete Team USA's scoring.
Maxwell finished with 39 saves for Team USA, and improved to 2-0-0 in tournament competition.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team (2-0-0) resumes play in the 2008 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge Monday (Dec. 31) when it takes on Canada's Team West at the Woodstock District Community Complex in Woodstock, Ontario. Opening faceoff is slated for 4 p.m. ET.
NOTES: Team USA compiled a season-high four power-play goals and it has now recorded a power-play marker in eight straight games ... Team USA has tallied four shorthanded goals in two games at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge ... Nick Mattson registered a career-high three assists and has moved into first place among Team USA defensmen with 13 points (1-12) ... Jeremy Morin was named Team USA's player of the game.