Team USA bests Canada in outdoor World Junior game in front of record 44,592 spectators

New Era Field (Russell Jaslow)
New Era Field was the site for Team USA’s shootout win over Canada Thursday night at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo (photo: Russell Jaslow).

In front of a record crowd of 44,592, Brady Tkachuk (Boston University) and Kieffer Bellows scored in the shootout and Jake Oettinger (Boston University) didn’t allow a shootout goal as the U.S. National Junior Team overcame a two-goal deficit to defeat Canada 4-3 Friday night in its third preliminary round game of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, outdoors at New Era Field in Buffalo.

The 44,592 fans set a new attendance record in IIHF World Junior Championship history, besting the 20,380 single-game attendance record previously set in the gold medal game of the 2009 event in Ottawa, Ont.

“What a tremendous atmosphere and a terrific bounce-back effort by our players,” said Team USA coach Bob Motzko (St. Cloud State) in a statement. “This was just another moment in the U.S.-Canada rivalry and something our players and staff will enjoy for years to come. We’ll enjoy this win tonight but come tomorrow, our focus turns to Finland.”

Bellows, Tkachuk and Scott Perunovich (Minnesota Duluth) scored in regulation for the U.S., while Casey Mittelstadt (Minnesota) was named the U.S. player of the game with three assists.

Oettinger finished with 19 saves and also had an assist in the game on Bellows’ power-play goal in the second period.

Cale Makar (UMass) opened the scoring for Canada on a first-period power play.

The United States will close preliminary round play on Sunday, Dec. 31, when it takes on Finland. The game is set for 4 p.m. EST at the KeyBank Center.