U.S. hammers Germany to move on
by Lucas Aykroyd|02 JAN 2023
The U.S.'s Logan Cooley (#92) scored a hat trick and added an assist in an 11-1 quarter-final thrashing of Germany at the 2023 World Juniors in Moncton.
photo: Chris Tanouye / IIHF
Advantage Stars and Stripes! The U.S. scored three first-period goals and never looked back in an 11-1 quarter-final shellacking of Germany in Moncton on Monday. Coach Rand Pecknold's Americans are off to Halifax to play for a medal for the fifth time in the last seven World Juniors.

The question is whether the U.S. will make it a gold medal for the sixth time in World Junior history (2004, 2010, 2013, 2017, 2021). There's still lots of work to be done.

"We're going to the semi-finals," said U.S. captain Luke Hughes. "Playing to play in the biggest game. So I think that's great, but we haven't done anything yet."

Versus Germany, the top U.S. line stayed red-hot. Logan Cooley notched a hat trick and an assist, Cutter Gauther had two goals and an assist, and Jimmy Snuggerud added a goal and two assists.

Of his four-point game, Cooley said: "It's huge. Having confidence, especially in this tournament, is really big. I think the whole line is going, too. We're going to need that the rest of the tournament."

Anticipating the possibility of facing defending champion Canada in the semi-finals, Gauthier said: "Obviously, USA-Canada has been a long rivalry for many, many years now. To play such a good team at such a high level like the World Juniors for our group would be especially huge. It wouldn't hurt too bad to beat those guys and shut down their ego a little bit on their home soil. So it'd be a fun time playing those guys."

Red Savage tallied a pair of goals, and Dylan Duke chipped in a goal and an assist. Jackson Blake and Kenny Connors also scored for the Americans.

Defender Ryan Ufko racked up a whopping five assists, while Chaz Lucius, Tyler Boucher, and Luke Mittelstadt had two helpers apiece.

Asked if he'd ever had a five-assist game before, Ufko said: "No, I don't think I have! But a lot of credit to my teammates. You know, they played well and I kind of executed off them."

The most goals ever scored by the U.S. versus a German World Junior team came on New Year's Day in 1989 in Anchorage, Alaska. Dave Emma scored four goals to lead the way in a 15-3 shellacking of West Germany.

For the Germans, Luca Hauf replied with his first World Junior goal.

"I think we just weren't ready," said German captain Bennet Rossmy. "I don't know where our mind was, but we just weren't ready and we didn't execute the way we wanted to."

Germany finishes eighth. This year's roster simply couldn’t match either the talent or the defensive commitment of the German teams that earned sixth-place finishes at the 2021 and 2022 World Juniors. They also lost 11-2 to Canada and 8-1 to Czechia in the group stage.

Nonetheless, the Germans will play in the top division for the fifth straight year in 2024, and that's a victory in itself.

"Austria was the big game for us," said Rossmy. "We won it and we made the quarter-finals. That's all that matters. We wanted to play a better game today, but probably we just didn't play our game and that's just disappointing."

Goaltending-wise, German starter Nikita Quapp got pulled after two periods in favour of newcomer Rihards Babulis. The U.S.'s Trey Augustine had a much easier ride in the first 40 minutes and then handed over the reins to Andrew Oke. The 18-year-old Saginaw Spirit goalie's only previous World Junior experience was appearing in the first two periods of a 7-0 shutout versus Austria at the 2022 tournament in Edmonton.

Final shots favoured the U.S. 41-22.
United States vs Germany (QF) - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship
USA GER 03 JAN 2023
This was the first playoff meeting between the U.S. and Germany in tournament history. It was certainly memorable for the Germans, albeit not for the right reasons. The U.S. exploited its puck movement skills and picked its spots almost at will.

Cooley drew first blood at 3:51. A pinching Ufko sent a backhanded pass from behind the goal line to the University of Minnesota star, and he deked around German forward Erik Hordler before zipping the puck through Quapp’s five-hole.

Of facing Germany, Cooley said: "Coming into it, we knew they got beat pretty bad by a few teams. And we didn't know exactly what team we were going to get out of them. Other than the first few shifts in the first period, I thought we had a really good game."

At 8:00, Snuggerud’s hard attempted feed for Lucius in the slot deflected in off a German player for a 2-0 lead on the power play. The Germans entered this game with the tournament's weakest penalty-killing, having surrendered nine goals on 18 man advantages in the previous four games.

Just 39 seconds later, Ufko found Savage cross-ice in the right faceoff circle and he took a moment to control the puck before firing it past a lunging Quapp.

At the nine-minute mark, the Americans thought they had a fourth goal from Charlie Stramel. But German coach Tobias Abstreiter challenged the play, and the goal was nullified due to an offside.

Germany generated a bit more pressure in the second period. Veit Oswald nearly got a breakaway, only to have it cut short by defenceman Luke Mittelstadt's savvy backcheck. But there wasn't nearly enough fermenting to brew a comeback from a three-goal deficit.

The Americans continued to confound Germany with their playmaking, scoring three more goals in a span of 2:16. Rutger McGroarty found Lucius cross-ice in the left faceoff circle, and he skimmed the disc to Blake on the doorstep. He coolly tucked it past Quapp's left skate for a 4-0 gap at 9:05.

At 11:03, Cooley made it 5-0 when the German goalie couldn't control Ufko's shot and left the puck sitting at his feet. Just 18 seconds later, Gauthier sniped home the sixth American goal from the left faceoff circle.

Savage got a shorthanded break and made no mistake, tucking home a backhand for a 7-0 lead at 15:25.

That top U.S. line kept on dazzling. A behind-the-back pass from Cooley on the rush got to Snuggerud, and he passed it right over to Gauthier for a one-timer that bulged the twine at 17:24.

"It's fun to watch, whether you're on the ice or on the bench," Ufko said of the Cooley trio.

In the third period, there was some concern right after Kenny Connors made it 9-0 for the Americans at 4:36. Dylan Duke, who had taken the puck hard to the net from the right, got turned around and inadvertently laid a weird hard reverse hit on Germany's Sebastian Cimmerman. The EHC Munchen prospect was helped off the ice.

At 6:53, Cooley batted in the tenth U.S. goal when Gauthier's hard release off the rush bounced off Babulis into the air. Off a faceoff, Duke lifted a backhand home for an 11-0 lead less than two minutes later.

With 3:12 left, Hauf gave his team a little bit of solace by pulling up in the right faceoff circle and ripping a wrister over Oke's glove to break the U.S. shutout bid.

The Avenir Centre crowd cheered as the clock ticked down, celebrating a successful maiden voyage for the World Juniors in New Brunswick's biggest city.

"It's a good feeling to play in front of the fans here," Rossmy said. "Canada is the biggest country of hockey and the fans are cheering for us. It's just an amazing feeling to play."

Including the era of West Germany, the U.S.’s all-time record against the Germans improved to 23 wins and four losses. The U.S. has won eight straight games against Germany. The last German win was 2-1 on 26 December 2006 on Marcel Muller’s overtime goal in Leksand, Sweden.
United States vs Germany (QF) - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship