LIBEREC, Czech Republic — The U.S. National Junior Team used four power-play goals on the way to a convincing 4-2 victory over Switzerland in the preliminary round of the of the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship here tonight.
“We played with good conviction and did it for 60 minutes,” said U.S. Head Coach John Hynes. “We took another step forward and that’s a positive sign.”
The United States had control of the play for the majority of the opening period but was able to get just one puck past Swiss netminder Robert Mayer. The goal came at 5:08 on the power play when Colin Wilson (Boston University) found the back of the net after receiving a nice cross-ice feed from Jordan Schroeder (U.S. National Under-18 Team). James vanRiemsdyk (New Hampshire) also drew an assist on the play.
The teams traded second-period goals, despite Team USA outshooting Switzerland by an 18-4 count. The U.S. advanced its lead to 2-0 when Bobby Sanguinetti (Brampton (OHL)) scored from the slot after a slick feed from below the goalline off the stick of vanRiemsdyk. Rhett Rakhshani (Denver) also gained an assist on the play. Just 1:20 later, however, Switzerland got back in the game when Dino Wieser’s pass from the corner found Andrei Bykov alone in front and he backhanded the puck past Jeremy Smith (Plymouth (OHL)).
The United States scored a pair of five-on-three power-play goals in the first 10 minutes of the third period to take command of the game. vanRiemsdyk beat Mayer on the short side at 2:27 with Sanguinetti and Schroeder major contributors on a three-way passing play. Then at 9:30 Wilson converted Kyle Okposo’s (St. Paul, Minn.) pass from the side of the net out in front with Schroeder also in on the scoring. Amaud Jacquemet of Switzerland scored a power-play goal at 15:45 for the final goal of the contest.
Smith picked up the victory in goal with 16 saves, while Mayer made 47 stops in a losing effort.
Team USA will battle Russia tomorrow (Dec. 29) at 2 p.m. EST in Liberec.