Chris Bourque scored five times and Phil Kessel had five assists to help the United States to an 11-2 victory over Norway in the opening game for both teams at the 2006 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship Monday at the Pacific Coliseum.
Interestingly, Bourque’s was the first hat trick for the U.S. in a World Junior Championship game since Kessel did it in an 8-2 win over Sweden in the quarterfinals of last year’s tournament, on New Year’s Day, 2005.
“It was a good start,” said U.S. head coach Walt Kyle, who is guiding the U.S. team for the third time in his career. “I thought we got better as the game progressed and we’ll definitely use this game as something to build on.”
The game featured virtually every situation imaginable, thanks in part to 32 penalties and 28 power plays between the teams. Team USA had 16 of those power plays and cashed in four times.
It was 3-0 for the U.S. after the opening stanza. T.J. Oshie staked the Americans to a 1-0 lead at 2:19 as he stepped through a Norway defender off the faceoff and beat Ruben Smith between the legs along the ice. Team USA extended its advantage to 2-0 at 12:22 when Erik Johnson’s shot from the center point dribbled between Smith’s legs. The power-play marker was set up by Robbie Schremp and Peter Mueller.
The U.S. finished the first period scoring with a four-on-three power play goal at 17:30 as Jack Skille moved down the center slot around a Norwegian defender and fired one off the glove of Smith and in. Erik Johnson, who had a goal and two assists on the night, drew the lone assist on the play.
Team USA outshot Norway 23-6 in the middle stanza and scored five times to take complete control of the game. Bourque lit the lamp three times in the stanza, while Mueller and captain Kevin Porter each tallied once.
Schremp scored once and Bourque twice in the third to cap a night that saw Team USA score its most goals in a World Junior game since a 19-1 win over Norway in 1991.
U.S. netminder Cory Schneider finished with 17 saves to pick up the victory. Ruben Smith and Lars Haugen combined for 44 saves for Norway.
Team USA will next face Finland on Wednesday, Dec. 28.