YARMOUTH, Nova Scotia -- The U.S. Junior Select Team captured the World Junior A Challenge championship by defeating Russia, 4-1, today at Mariners Centre. Kyle Connor (Shelby Twp., Mich.) broke a 1-1 tie in the final seconds of the second stanza and the U.S. tacked on two more goals in the third period.
Team USA has won five of the last six World Junior A Challenges (2008-10, '12-13).
"We're thrilled to win this tournament," said Derek Lalonde, head coach of the U.S. Junior Select Team. We stayed focused all week and kept it up today. I thought the difference was our depth. We wore Russia down, especially on our second goal. Then I thought we managed the third period very well."
Karson Kuhlman (Cloquet, Minn.) scored his fourth goal of the tournament at 17:00 of the first period to put Team USA ahead 1-0.
Russia tied the game 1-1 with a tally at 14:07 of the middle frame.
The U.S. reclaimed the lead for good when Connor lit the lamp with 14 seconds left in the period. Helpers went to Nick Schmaltz (Verona, Wis.) and Connor Hurley (Eagan, Minn.), who led the tournament in assists with eight and seven, respectively.
Team USA sewed up the championship in the third period with goals by Andrew Oglevie (Fullerton, Calif.) at 8:28 and C.J. Franklin (Forest Lake, Minn.) at 13:12.
Goaltender Cal Petersen (Waterloo, Iowa) stopped 16 of the 17 shots he faced. Russia Maxim Tretiak had 25 saves.
NOTES: Team USA has won a record nine straight games at the World Junior A Challenge, dating back to its third-place game victory in 2011 ... Nick Schmaltz was named MVP of the tournament. He set the tournament record for points (12), while tying the event record for assists (8). He also tied the single-game record for points (5) when he tallied two goals and three assists vs. Switzerland in the semifinals ... The all-tournament team included forwards Nick Schmaltz, Connor Hurley and defenseman Neal Pionk. Hurley was second in the tournament with 10 points (3-7). Pionk had a pair of assists ... The U.S. captain was Dennis Kravchenko (San Clemente, Calif.), while the alternate captains were C.J. Franklin and Karson Kuhlman ... The World Junior A Challenge completed its eighth year and the United States competed for the seventh time … Team USA has won five of the last five tournaments (2008-10, '12-13) … The 2013 field included 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).