USA outlasts Russia
by Maria Tassone|21 APR 2019
USA's Owen Lindmark battles with Russia's Ilya Nikolayev during preliminary play in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden
photo: Steve Kingsman / HHOF-IIHF Images

The USA and Russia were prepared for a hard battle in their late afternoon clash in Ornskoldsvik as both teams were looking for their third win in three games. Team USA, with the addition of forward Bobby Brink, would claim the feat.   

The Americans opened the game taking back-to-back penalties before five minutes had elapsed. On the second kill, things would turn in Russia’s favour as Yegor Chinakhov got on the scoreboard shooting the puck from the top of the circle through traffic.  

Luck remained on Russia’s side as Spencer Knight thought he had a hold of the puck, but it went wide of his net, and Rodion Amirov buried his shot with Knight still unsure of where the puck was. 

USA captain Jack Hughes would get things going for his team on the advantage with a blast from the hash marks. Not long after, Matthew Boldy chipped a bobbling puck through the legs of the Russian defender to Alex Turcotte who would tie it up at 2-2. 

“I think we’re going really well right now. I think the way we play is super fast so we have a lot of layers to our game too. It makes it hard for the other team,” Boldy commented. “Everyone’s producing, so there’s no complaints there, just kind of playing our game.”

The Americans seemed to turn on another gear near the end of the first period, and carried it through to the second.   

Back on the power play mid-way through the middle frame, Cole Caufield missed an open net, but Boldy would make up for it, giving Team USA the lead for the first time in this game. 

“It definitely helps your confidence playing in these games and producing. I’ve had a couple easy ones, I mean playing with great guys like Alex Turcotte and Bobby Brink, they make it pretty easy,” praised Boldy, “I just go out there and do my thing. Whatever happens, happens.”    

Play continued to be dominated by the red, white and blue as Owen Lindmark went to one knee, but goaltender Yaroslav Askarov was there to make the save. As the clock ticked closer to intermission, Caufield did not miss a second time, and gave his team a two goal lead. 

Just before the midway point of the final frame - and before going on the penalty kill - Russia made a goaltending change, opting for Vsevolod Skotnikov to finish the game. This seemed to give the team a spark. 

After muscling the Americans off the puck by their own blue line, Yegor Spiridonov’s laser shot from the slot made it past Knight bringing the Russians within one.  

Just over two minutes later, Caufield broke into the offensive zone alone, and went five-hole to restore USA’s two goal lead. 

Russia used their timeout within the final minute of regulation while adding the extra attacker, but it was too little too late. The Americans would add one last goal (Russia decided to put Skotnikov back in net for the final seconds) thanks to Matthew Beniers. With the 6-3 win, the USA now has sole possession of first place in Group B. 

USA vs. Russia - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship