PORT HAWKESBURY, Nova Scotia - Brendan Warren (Carleton, Mich.) registered three assists, and nine additional U.S. skaters picked up at least one point, as the U.S. Men's National Under-17 Team toppled Russia, 5-1, here today at the Civic Centre.
"This was a great start for our team and something positive to build from," said Don Granato, head coach of the U.S. Men's National Under-17 Team. "Russia is a big rival and to get a win over them to open the tournament is huge. But it's right back to work on our next opponent."
Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) opened scoring at 12:57 of the first period. Receiving a pass from Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale, Ill.) while behind the net, Warren drove hard to the front of Ilya Samsonov's crease and forced a wrap-around shot. Samsonov made the initial save, but Roslovic jammed the rebound home for the tally.
Team USA appeared to have gained a two-goal lead when Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) swatted the puck into the net, but the goal was waved off on a high-stick call. Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.) doubled the U.S. lead with just 1:41 remaining in the period. Skating in a four-on-three disadvantage, Hanifin began a breakout with Warren and Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich.). Warren and Werenski traded passes before Warren teed up a one-timer on Samsonov. After the initial shot was blocked by the Russian netminder, a trailing Hanifin lit the lamp with a rebound tally.
The U.S. pushed it's lead to three goals just 1:45 into the final frame when Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) lifted a puck into the top corner of the net after a carom off the post. Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.) and Warren picked up assists on the play. Russia pulled within two goals at the 4:40 mark, but Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) restaked a three-goal cushion for the United States at 11:37. Both goals were scored on the power play. Floodstrand capped the scoring at 16:26, taking a Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.) feed and beating Samsonov for his second point of the contest. Roslovic also earned a helper on the score.
Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) stopped 17 shots for Team USA in the win, while Samsonov made 55 saves for Russia.
All games of the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (excluding the title game) will be streamed live, and also available on-demand, at FASTHockey.com.
The U.S. Men's National Under-17 Team will continue tournament play tomorrow, Dec. 30, against Germany. Puck drop is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST in North Sydney, Nova Scotia at the Emera Centre Northside.
Colin White (1 goal)
Ilya Samsonov (55 saves)