AMERICANS EXPLODE IN FIRST PERIOD, ADVANCE TO SEMIFINAL
CAMROSE, AB – It may have been a rough road to start the tournament, but the United States is heading to the semifinals at the 2008 World Junior A Challenge.
Craig Smith, David Gerths, Mike Cichy and Josh Birkholz all scored in the first period as the Americans jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes en route to an 8-2 win over Russia in quarter-final action on Thursday.
The United States won its second-straight game at this year’s tournament after dropping its opener to Germany on Tuesday.
Cichy added his second goal in the second period and Matt Donovan, Pat Mullane and Greg Burke scored in the third for the U.S., who is the first team to finish in third place in its group in the preliminary round and advance to the semifinals.
The United States will meet Canada East in Saturday’s early semifinal (4 p.m. MST). The Americans beat the Canadians 5-3 on Wednesday night in the preliminary round finale.
Smith got the U.S. rolling on a powerplay just shy of the six-minute mark of the opening period, poking the puck past Russian netminder Dmitry Shikin from a sharp angle.
Gerths stuffed a backhand shortside on Shikin at 11:01 and Cichy went five-hole 2:19 later, spelling the end of the night for Shikin, who was replaced by Eduard Reyzvikh. He fared no better, allowing Birkholz’ goal on the powerplay with five minutes to go in the frame, sending the Americans to the dressing room up four.
The Russians began to apply more pressure in the second period, but Cichy – who added two assists to his two goals and picked up Player of the Game honours – pushed the lead to 5-0 midway through the period.
Stanislav Bocharov and Sergey Chvatov broke the shutout bid by American goaltender Mike Lee with goals in the dying minutes of the second period, but there would be no comeback for the Russians, who will face the loser of Thursday’s second quarter-final between Germany and Belarus in Saturday’s fifth-place game (12 p.m. MST).
Maxim Kitsin picked up the Player of the Game award for Russia, who will not play for a medal for the first time in the three-year history of the tournament.
|Arena||Edgeworth Centre||City, Country||Camrose, Alta.|
|Month / Day / Year||11/06/2008||Time||04:00 PM MT|
|United States (USA)||4||1||3||8|
|United States||30 Mike Lee||On 1/00:00||Off 3/20:00|
|Russia||1 Dmitry Shikin||On 1/00:00||Off 1/13:20|
|30 Eduard Reyzvikh||On 1/13:21||Off 3/20:00|
|Shots on Goal||1||2||3||Total|
|Player of the Game|
|United States||7 Mike Cichy|
|Russia||23 Maxin Kitsin|