December 26, 2018 Victoria, BC (ISN) – The USA Junior Hockey team used a two goal third period to defeat Slovakia 2-1 in opening game action in Victoria, BC at the IIHF Junior World Hockey Championships Wednesday night.
After a scoreless first period of play that saw both teams with equal opportunity on net at seven shots apiece, it would be the Slovaks that would take the advantage in the second frame on goal from Marek Korencik, beating USA’s netminder Kyle Keyser glove side to take a 1-0 lead.
Slovakia’s goaltender, Samuel Hlavaj, would stand on his head to keep his team in front, turning aside a 12-5 shots on goal onslaught in the second frame that included denying the red, white and blue from tying the game with a penalty shot taken by USA forward Jason Robertson. Despite the USA dominating puck possession late in the middle period, Hlavaj would continue to frustrate the Americans, shutting them out through two periods of play.
The USA would continue to dominate the play in the third period allowing Slovakia only two shots on goal in the final period while peppering the Slovak goalie with fifteen shots on goal. USA’s Captain Mikey Anderson, would start the comeback, left alone inside the Solvakian blue line would walk in and blast the one timer past Hlavaj to pull even 1-1 just 1 minute and thirty seconds in to the third period. Evan Barratt would net the eventual winning goal four minutes later on a back hander in front of the Slovak goalie to post the victory.
The Slovaks would get one last attempt to tie the game when a penalty shot was awarded late in the game, but USA’s Keyser, equal to the task, would turn aside Andrej Kukuca with 6:45 remaining to secure the win.
For the USA, it’s their twelfth straight tournament opening game win, and their fifteenth win over Slovakia.