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.
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.