YARMOUTH, Nova Scotia – Nick Schmaltz (Verona, Wis.) and Connor Hurley (Eagan, Minn.) posted two goals apiece to help the U.S. Junior Select Team beat Switzerland, 7-4, in the semifinals of the World Junior A Challenge. The defending champion, Team USA faces Russia in the title game at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday (Nov. 10).
Schmaltz also added three assists tonight, tying the event record for points in a game (5). In three contests, he has four goals and seven assists for 11 points, which equals the single-tournament record.
“I’m really happy with how we responded tonight after trailing in the second period,” said Derek Lalonde, head coach of the U.S. Junior Select Team. “It was important for our best players to be our best players. Nick Schmaltz and Connor Hurley stepped up and they’ve been very good all week. Russia will be tough in the title game. We played them earlier in the tournament and we need to use our speed and be disciplined to have success.”
C.J. Franklin (Forest Lake, Minn.) opened the scoring 11:56 into the first period, faking forehand and sliding the puck into the net on his backhand.
Switzerland converted on a two-man advantage with 53 seconds left in the first period to tie the game 1-1.
For the first time of the tournament, Team USA trailed when the Swiss took a 2-1 lead at 4:19 of the second stanza.
The U.S. responded by scoring the next five goals. On a power play, Schmaltz buried a cross-crease feed from Hurley at 6:55. Matthew Weis (Madison, N.J.) notched the go-ahead goal three minutes later when he stripped the puck from the Swiss goaltender and tucked it inside the post. Hurley scored on a Schmaltz pass at 16:37 to make it 4-2 USA after 40 minutes.
Thirty-four seconds into the third period, Dennis Kravchenko (San Clemente, Calif.) continued Team USA’s goal spree. Hurley made it 6-2 with a power-play goal at 2:31.
Following a Switzerland goal at 8:34, Schmaltz tallied a power-play goal at 10:02 for his fifth point of the game.
The Swiss capped the scoring with 6:24 left on the clock.
Cal Petersen (Waterloo, Iowa) made 15 saves in the U.S. net, while Maxim Mauerhofer stopped 30-of-37 shots for Switzerland.
Team USA will play Russia in the championship game Sunday at 11 a.m. The U.S. beat Russia in the preliminary round, 8-3. The game 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: Team USA's captain is Dennis Kravchenko (San Clemente, Calif.), while the alternate captains are C.J. Franklin (Forest Lake, Minn.) and Karson Kuhlman (Cloquet, Minn.) ... 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