USA takes on Russia for gold
by Adam Steiss|22 JAN 2020
Russia has scored 25 goals in three games at the Youth Olympics. 
photo: Vedran Galijas /
It’s USA-Russia in an Olympic gold medal game, what’s not to like?

Granted, this is the Youth Olympic Games U16 men’s ice hockey tournament, not Lake Placid or Sochi. But with the offensive fireworks put out by these two rivals in Lausanne 2020, there is no doubt that the final should be a doozie.

On one side you have the Russian team, perennial medal contenders in IIHF and Olympic ice hockey and looking every bit the tournament favourites after running a 10-1 demolition job on Finland in the semi-final.
Captian Ivan Miroshnichenko has helped lead a deadly Russian offence. 
photo: Vedran Galijas /
The Russian offence is humming, paced by Matvei Michkov’s  tournament-leading 7 goals and 4 assists. His linemates Ivan Miroshnichenko and Ilya Kvochko are #2 and #3 in tournament scoring, and combined the three have produced an incredible 31 points in three games.

“They’re a new team for us. We saw some of their games. They have some good guys,” said Miroshnichenko of the U.S. team. “It will be a tough game but we hope to play as well as today and that fortune will be on our country’s side.”

On the other you have Team USA, the 2016 Youth Olympic champions and boasting a talented roster of top young prospects. Isaac Howard matched Michkov’s goal’s total, and Frank Nazar has scored three goals in the last two games, including the game winner against Canada on a penalty shot.

Head coach Scott Paluch will have to decide who to go with in net, although Dylan Silvertstein got the nod against the Canadians. On the Russian net it will likely be Sergei Ivanov.

“It feels amazing [to make the final]. We get a medal now, we have to choose which colour we want,” said Silverstein. “It will be a good game. We have to see who we will be playing, seal the deal and take care of business.”
Team USA will be in the underdog role against the Russians. 
photo: Vedran Galijas /
The Americans have not lost a game so far at the tournament, but will need all the help they can get against a Russian squad that will be looking to come out of January with a gold medal, after just missing out on a trophy a few weeks ago at the 2020 World Juniors in Ostrava.

In the bronze medal, it’s Canada taking on Finland, which will be trying to shake off a brutal loss to the Russians in the semi-final to try and take home a medal.

“It’s a great experience for our players," said head coach Gordie Dwyer. "It’s been a really good tournament and we definitely want to finish up strong and come home with some hardware.”

The Canadians gave it their all in a tight loss to the USA, so this game figures to be close as both teams try get past a disappointing semi-final round and come home with a medal.