Team USA Wins Group B, Finishes Perfect 4-0-0-0 in World Juniors Preliminary Round

Five minutes in, Sweden nearly took the lead at the front of the U.S. net, but committed an infraction on the trailing play, sending Team USA’s powerplay unit onto the ice. Luke Hughes (Canton, Mich.) found himself with the puck at the blue line, and rifled a cross-ice pass to Thomas Bordeleau (Houston, Texas). Bordeleau hesitated which opened up a lane for a pass that found its way to the skates of Brett Berard (East Greenwich, R.I.), who jammed it home for a 1-0 lead.

Team USA’s penalty kill got to work to start the second period, as Sweden used the momentum to gain possession over the first five minutes. Matt Knies (Phoenix, Ariz.) stole momentum back for the U.S. and grabbed a loose puck off a faceoff and left it for Cooley on a quick cycle. Cooley fired a shot toward the net, and Coronato pushed the rebound under Wallstedt’s blocker, putting the U.S. up 2-0. Sweden responded quickly with a partial breakaway, but U.S. netminder Kaidan Mbereko (Aspen, Colo.) got to the top of his crease and shut down any chance of a Swedish goal.

Sweden, again, tried to gain momentum on the powerplay, but it was the U.S. penalty kill that got the upper hand. With 1:02 remaining in the middle frame, Sweden was called for a minor minute penalty, leaving the U.S. powerplay 58 seconds to open the third period. At the final whistle of the frame, the U.S. gameplan showed signs of suffocating Sweden’s offense, limiting them to just three shots in the period.


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