U.S. Tops Czech Republic For Fifth At WJC

James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J./University of New Hampshire) scored a highlight-reel goal in overtime to lift the United States to a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic Sunday in the fifth-place game at the 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.

van Riemsdyk skated around a fallen defender, put the puck between his legs and scored into the upper corner at 2:49 of the extra session to propel Team USA to its fourth win in six games at the event. Ryan McDonagh (Arden Hills, Minn./University of Wisconsin) and Colin Wilson (Greenwich, Conn./Boston University) drew assists on the play.

Eric Tangradi (Philadelphia, Pa.) gave Team USA the early lead when he tapped in the rebound of Mitch Wahl’s (Seal Beach, Calif.) shot seconds after a U.S. power play expired at 8:36 of the opening period. Josh Unice (Holland, Ohio) stopped all eight shots he faced in the stanza and the U.S. held a 1-0 advantage after 20 minutes.

After a scoreless second period, the Czech Republic evened the contest at 2:23 of the third when Zdenek Okal’s shot attempt from the goal line hit the side of the net and bounded up into the air and over the shoulder of Unice. With the teams skating four-on-four, Ondrej Roman used a U.S. defender as a screen and found the top corner of the net from the slot at 10:59 to give the Czechs a 2-1 advantage. The tally came just :30 after Unice stopped Roman Szturc on a three-on-one Czech rush.

Defenseman Cade Fairchild (Duluth, Minn./University of Minnesota) fired a shot from the center point on the power play with 6:58 left in regulation to tie the game. The U.S. nearly took the lead three minutes later as the line of Mike Hoeffel (North Oaks, Minn./University of Minnesota), Tyler Johnson (Spokane, Wash.) and Jimmy Hayes (Dorchester, Mass./Boston College) forced Czech netminder Tomas Vosvrda to make four consecutive saves in a mad scramble in front of the net.

Unice, playing in his first game in the tournament, recorded 25 saves to earn the win.

Notes: Team USA outshot the Czech Republic, 48-27 … The last nine games between the United States and the Czech Republic in the World Junior Championship have been decided by two goals or fewer. The U.S. has won six of those contests … Team USA finished the tournament with a 3-1-0-2 record (win-overtime win-overtime loss-loss)… Eric Tangradi was named the U.S. Player of the Game … Colin Wilson, Kevin Shattenkirk (New Rochelle, N.Y./Boston University) and James van Riemsdyk were named Team USA’s three best players of the tournament … Jordan Schroeder (Prior Lake, Minn.) finished the tournament as the team’s leading point getter with 3-8–11, with van Riemsdyk (6-4–10), Wilson (3-6–9) and Shattenkirk (1-8–9) next in line. Shattenkirk’s nine points led all U.S. defensemen … James van Riemsdyk finished his career in World Junior Championship play second all-time in the U.S. record book in both points (12-10–22) and goals (12). Jeremy Roenick (25 points, 13 goals) is tops in both categories … Jordan Schroeder has 15 career assists in World Junior Championship play, number one in the U.S. record book. Schroeder is one of four players eligible to return to next year’s U.S. National Junior Team, along with fellow forwards Mitch Wahl, Tyler Johnson and Danny Kristo … Defenseman Jonathon Blum (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) captained the 2009 U.S. National Junior Team, while forward Colin Wilson and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk served as the team’s alternate captains … The 2009 U.S. National Junior Team trained in Lake Placid, N.Y., at the Olympic Training Center from Dec. 16-20 … Ron Rolston (Ann Arbor, Mich.), head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Team within USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, was the head coach of the 2009 U.S. National Junior Team. Nate Leaman (Clifton Park, N.Y./Union College) and P.K. O’Handley (Waterloo, Iowa/Waterloo Black Hawks) served as assistant coaches, while Jeff Blashill (Indianapolis, Ind./Indiana Ice) was the goaltending coach and Ken Martel (Colorado Springs, Colo.) the video coordinator.

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