Dawson Creek, B.C.
AMERICANS DOWN RUSSIA TO FINISH UNBEATEN AT WJAC
JASON LA ROSE
DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Brendan Brisson added two goals and an assist to his tournament-leading totals, Gunnarwolfe Fontaine had a goal and two helpers and the United States capped a perfect preliminary round with a 7-2 win over Russia on Friday afternoon.
With two games to go, Brisson (5-7—12) has equalled the tournament scoring record, set in 2013 by Nick Schmaltz and equalled three years ago by Andrei Svechnikov. He has recorded at least three points in each of his last three games.
He also sits just one assist back of Schmaltz and Ian Brady (2012) for the most in one tournament.
The Americans took a very early lead; Josh Lopina won a face-off back to Josh Groll, and his lightning-quick shot beat goaltender Maxim Motorygin just 1:58 after the puck dropped.
Russia pulled even when Marat Khusnutdinov knocked down a clearing attempt at the U.S. blue-line and found Iliya Rychkov behind the defence only 61 seconds into the second period, but Mitch Miller jumped on a turnover in the neutral zone and counted an unassisted marker just 30 seconds later to put the Americans up for good.
Brisson converted on a two-man advantage before the end of the middle frame, setting up in his favourite spot at the right face-off dot and ripping a one-timer past Motorygin off a set-up from Fontaine.
The U.S. power play continued to roll in the third period, scoring three times in less than four minutes.
Fontaine made it 4-1 at 6:52, spinning away from a Russian before going short-side, Brisson scored a carbon copy of his first goal at 9:46 and Sam Colangelo snapped a shot off the arm of Motorygin and in at 10:24.
That was it for the Russian netminder, who was replaced by Yegor Guskov after six goals on 38 shots.
Jack Millar added one more for the U.S. on a rebound in front before Nikita Buruyanov corralled a bouncing puck off the end glass and beat American goaltender Ethan Haider to finish the scoring in the dying minutes.
Both teams will wait for the result of the Canada East-Czech Republic game on Friday night to find out who they will face in the semifinals on Saturday.