DIGBY, Nova Scotia -- The U.S. Junior Select Team overcame a two-goal deficit to beat Canada West, 4-3, in World Junior A Challenge pre-tournament action Saturday night (Nov. 2) at Digby Arena.
“I was really pleased with how we competed tonight, especially in how we battled back in the third period,” said Derek Lalonde, head coach of the U.S. Junior Select Team. “We stayed composed on the penalty kill and scored a key goal while shorthanded. We showed good depth throughout the game and we’re excited to start the tournament on Tuesday.”
Following a scoreless first period, Canada West opened a 2-0 lead on goals at 5:12 and 10:21 of the second stanza. Neal Pionk (Hermantown, Minn.) cut the deficit in half with a power-play goal at 12:31.
Karson Kuhlman (Cloquet, Minn.) knotted the game at two goals apiece seven minutes into the third period. While shorthanded, Kyle Connor (Shelby Twp., Mich.) provided the go-ahead goal with less than four minutes to play in the game. Connor added an empty-net goal in the final minute, which proved to be the game winner as Canada West tallied its third goal with one second left on the clock.
Cal Petersen (Waterloo, Iowa) started in the U.S. net and stopped four of five shots in 30:26. Chris Birdsall (Glen Rock, N.J.) played the final 29:34, making 19 saves on 21 shots.
Team USA begins World Junior A Challenge group play Tuesday (Nov. 5) when it faces Russia at 7 p.m. EST. All tournament games will be streamed live at FASTHockey.com. Those interested in watching should sign up for a free account in advance at USAHockey.FASTHockey.com.
NOTES: The World Junior A Challenge is in its eighth year and the United States is competing for the seventh time … Team USA has won four of the last five tournaments (2008-10, '12) … The 2013 field includes Canada East, Canada West, Czech Republic, Russia, Switzerland and the United States … The official event website is available here ... All players on the U.S. roster, which includes 13 forwards, seven defenseman and two goaltenders, compete in the United States Hockey League. For the complete roster, click here … The 22 players represent 10 states. Eight players hail from Minnesota, while Michigan has four players and California and New Jersey have two apiece. Other states include Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, South Dakota and Wisconsin ... Two players on the roster are eligible for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, including goaltender Chris Birdsall (Glen Rock, N.J.) and forward Kyle Connor (Shelby Twp, Mich.) ... All 22 players are verbally committed to attend NCAA Division I hockey programs in the future ... Thirteen USHL teams are represented. Leading the way are the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Dubuque Fighting Saints, Green Bay Gamblers and Sioux Falls Stampede, which have three players each ... Derek Lalonde (Brasher Falls, N.Y.), head coach and general manager of the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers, is the head coach for the 2013 U.S. Junior Select Team ... The assistant coaches are Anthony Noreen (Chicago, Ill.) and Mark Abalan (Green Bay, Wis.). Noreen is the head coach and general manager for the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms, while Abalan is an assistant coach for the USHL's Sioux City Musketeers. Additional team staff includes Team Manager Marc Boxer (Colorado Springs, Colo.) of USA Hockey, Equipment Manager Darrin Flinchem (Indianapolis, Ind.) of the Indiana Ice, Athletic Trainer Steve Bagus (Oak Lawn, Ill.) of the Chicago Steel and Team Physician Dr. Alan Ashare (Boston, Mass).
Tag(s): World Jr. A Challenge