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U.S. Skates Past Finland, 5-4, In Final 2018 World Juniors Preliminary Round Game

By USA Hockey, 12/31/17, 4:30PM EST

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U.S. to play Russia in quarterfinals on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at 8pm ET

Captain Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth) scored twice and Adam Fox (Jericho, N.Y./Harvard University) netted the game-winning goal with 1:37 remaining to lead the U.S. National Junior Team past Finland, 5-4, here today in its final preliminary round game of the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship at KeyBank Center.

“We found a way to win,” said Bob Motzko, head coach of the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team. “It was great to see guys step up and contribute in big ways today. We believe our best hockey is still in front of us. There were a lot of highs and lows today, and we'll focus on what we can do better as we get ready for the quarterfinals on Tuesday.” 

Team USA (2-1-0-1/W-OTW-OTL-L) finishes Group A play in second place and will play Russia, the third seed from Group B, in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, Jan. 2. The game is set for 8:00 p.m. ET at KeyBank Center with tickets still available here. That contest will also be broadcast live on NHL Network.

Trent Frederic (St. Louis, Mo./University of Wisconsin) gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead 3:59 into the game when he skated down the slot and fired a wrist shot through traffic that beat Finnish netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen low glove-side.

With 5:27 left in the opening period, the U.S. doubled its lead when Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie, Minn./University of Minnesota) finished off a nice passing play from Brady Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./Boston University) for his fourth goal of the tournament.

In the middle stanza, Anderson pushed Team USA’s lead to 3-0 with a power play tally. The play started when an initial shot from Adam Fox (Jericho, N.Y./Harvard University) bounced to Tkachuk who was able to send the rebound to an open Anderson for his first goal of the game. 

Finland was able to cut the U.S. lead to 3-1 around the 11-minute mark when an odd-man rush ended with Aapeli Rasanen ripping a shot past the ear of Joseph Woll (St. Louis, Mo./Boston College). Eeli Tolvanen then brought Finland within one with 1:16 remaining by firing a slapshot into the top right corner. 

The U.S. was able to respond less than a minute later with Anderson’s second goal of the game while on the power play. After Mittelstadt dished the puck back to point, Fox sent a shot on net that deflected into the air and bounced in front of the goal where Anderson was able to bat it into the net and regain a two-goal U.S. lead. 

In the final stanza, both Joona Koppanen and Kristian Vesalainen scored just over a minute apart near the midway point of the period to even the score, 4-4. 

With 1:37 remaining in the game, Mittelstadt received a pass from Tkachuk and entered the offensive zone before throwing the puck to Fox where he was able to slip the puck between the legs of Luukkanen for the game-winning goal. 

Woll stopped 20 shots in the 5-4 victory.

NOTES: Joey Anderson was named the U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Finland, 37-24, went 2-for-5 on the power play and finished 3-for-4 on the penalty kill. For the complete game statistics, click here ... Jim Johannson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) is serving as the general manager of Team USA for the ninth consecutive year ... Bob Motzko (St. Cloud, Minn.) is serving as head coach for the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team and joined behind the bench by assistant coaches Greg Brown (Scituate, Mass.), Grant Potulny (Grand Forks, N.D.), Kris Mayotte (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Steve Miller (Littleton, Colo.) ... USA Hockey’s international council, chaired by Gavin Regan (Potsdam, N.Y.), vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams ... All U.S. games will be broadcast live on NHL Network.

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U.S. Schedule

Date Opponent Location Result U.S. Player of Game
Wed., Dec. 20 Belarus
Pre-Tournament Game
Northwest Arena
Jamestown, N.Y.
W, 14-0 NA
Fri., Dec. 22 Sweden
Pre-Tournament Game
Erie Insurance Arena
Erie, Pa.
W, 3-1 Na
Tues., Dec. 26 Denmark
Preliminary Round
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
W, 9-0 Casey Mittelstadt
Thurs., Dec. 28 Slovakia
Preliminary Round
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
L, 2-3 Brady Tkachuk
Fri., Dec. 29 Canada
Preliminary Round
New Era Field*
Orchard Park, N.Y.
W (SO) 4-3 Casey Mittelstadt
Sun., Dec. 31 Finland
Preliminary Round
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
W, 5-4 Joey Anderson
Tues., Jan. 2 Russia
Quarterfinals
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
W, 4-2 Kieffer Bellows
Thurs., Jan. 4 Sweden
Semifinals
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
L, 2-4 Josh Norris
Fri., Jan. 5 Czech Republic
Bronze-Medal Game
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
W, 9-3 Trent Frederic

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