Team USA Sets Up Showdown With Canada
CHN Staff Report
SASKATOON, Sask. Boston College freshman Chris Kreider scored three times and three other U.S. players notched two goals each, as the U.S. National Junior Team defeated Latvia, 12-1, to remain perfect in three games at the World Junior Championship.
Goal differential is a tiebreaker in the standings, which is why Canada ran up a 16-0 win over Latvia in the first game of the tournament — a total the Americans couldn't quite match.
"We moved the puck well and did what we had to in the first period," said Nebraska-Omaha's Dean Blais, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. "I was happy that we finished strong in the final period, because I knew that however we performed would carry over into our next game against Canada."
The winner of the U.S.-Canada matchup — at 7 p.m. (CT) on New Year's Eve (Thursday) — will receive a bye for the first game of the medal round, and automatic berth in the semifinals. Canada has won five straight World Junior championships.
Wisconsin's Derek Stepan scored twice in the third period.
The Team USA/Canada game can be seen live in the U.S. on the NHL Network. It will also be streamed live in the U.S. on FASTHockey.com.
NOTES: Tyler Johnson, who contributed one goal and one assist in the contest, was named Team USA's Player of the Game ... The 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship runs Dec. 26 - Jan. 5 in Regina and Saskatoon, Sask. ... In other tournament action, the Czech Republic defeated Austria, 7-1, while Canada will take on Slovakia and Russia will face Sweden later in the day. For complete results and stats from the tournament, visit IIHF.com.