Team USA Still Perfect; Rips Russia at World Juniors

The United States wrapped up its torrid run through Pool play at the World Junior Championships with a 4-1 win over defending gold medalists Russia on Wednesday.


With the win, Team USA finishes a perfect 4-0 in Pool ‘A’ and earns a first-round bye in the medal round. The U.S. will next play in the semifinals Saturday, Jan. 3 at 3 p.m local time (8 a.m. ET), facing the winner of the quarterfinal game between hometown Finland and Russia.

The top three teams from each Pool advance, with the first-place teams earning byes. Canada also wrapped up round-robin play with a perfect 4-0 record in Pool ‘B’ and awaits the winner of Slovakia vs. Czech Republic.

Zach Parise leads all scorers with 11 points so far at the World Juniors.

Zach Parise leads all scorers with 11 points so far at the World Juniors.

Team USA scored three power-play goals in the first period against Russia, from Patrick O’Sullivan, Zach Parise and Stephen Werner. Parise added a second-period shorthanded goal to pad the lead, while Russia added a power-play score in the third.

Parise, a North Dakota sophomore, also assisted on Werner’s goal and leads the entire tournament in scoring (6-5–11) through four games. Michigan goalie Al Montoya has played every minute in net for the U.S.

A day earlier, Werner, who plays for Massachusetts, scored twice, including the shorthanded game winner midway through the third period, as Team USA defeated Sweden, 4-3. Previously, the United States had shut out Austria (8-0) and Slovakia (5-0).

Werner opened the scoring against Sweden with a power-play goal, and was followed by a goal from Matt Carle (Denver). The teams traded goals in the second period, and it ended with the U.S. ahead 3-2. Sweden tied it on a power-play goal in the third period, but Werner’s winner came just 1:17 later.

Montoya stopped 22 shots in the win. His shutout streak at the tournament lasted 145:34.

James Wisniewski and Parise added two assists each.

Parise had a hat trick in the 8-0 win over Austria, while Brett Sterling (Colorado College) had a pair of goals.

Against Slovakia, five different players scored, including Parise, David Booth, Werner, Ryan Kesler and Brady Murray.

Team USA is coached by Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves.