LAMBTON SHORES, Ont. - Clayton Keller (Swansea, Ill.) recorded a hat trick and added one assist, Max Jones (Rochester, N.Y.) scored twice and added a single assist, and goaltender Joseph Woll (Dardenne Prairie, Mo.) turned aside 30 shots to help lead the U.S. National Under-17 Team to a 7-3 win over Canada Red in World Under-17 Hockey Challenge preliminary play here at The Shores Recreation Center tonight.
The U.S. opened the scoring 4:05 into the first frame when Jones corralled his own rebound and blasted the puck into the net. Kailer Yamamoto (Spokane, Wash.) assisted on the play. Just over two minutes later, Keller doubled the Team USA lead after weaving through three Canada Red defenders and beating Dylan Wells top shelf, glove-side. Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn.) and Luke Martin (St. Louis, Mo.) recorded assists. Yamamoto pushed the U.S. advantage to three goals at the 12:21 mark, chipping a Patrick Khodorenko (Walnut Creek, Calif.) feed past Wells. Jones recorded the secondary assist. With just over one minute remaining in the period, Jones struck again, this time on the power play, roofing a shot over Wells. Keller and Martin combined to earn assists on the tally.
Team USA notched its fifth goal at 1:44 of the second stanza. Skating on a two-on-one break, Nick Pastujov (Bradenton, Fla.) charged down the left side of the ice and found Keller to the right. Wells could not slide over and stop the puck as Keller tapped it far side for the tally. Canada Red found the board at 3:22 while up a skater, knocking a rebound past Woll. A James Sanchez (Northbrook, Ill.) shot caromed off Keenan Suthers (Macomb, Mich.) and into the net at 13:48 to give Team USA a 6-1 advantage heading into the third. Chad Krys (Ridgefield, Conn.) also assisted on Suthers’ marker.
Canada Red potted two goals in the third period, one while enjoying a 5-on-3, to climb to within three goals of the U.S. Keller answered moments after Canada Red’s third strike, however, to put Team USA ahead, 7-3, and claim victory. Anderson started the play and was denied on a breakaway chance before Pastujov scooped up the loose puck and found Keller for the score.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team will next face the No. 4 seed in Group A, Canada Black, in the quarterfinal round, having earned the No. 1 seed in Group B with tonight’s victory. The contest will take place Thursday, Nov. 6, at The Shores Recreation Centre at 3 p.m. EST. The game can be viewed live on FASTHockey.com.
Max Jones was named U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA was outshot by Canada Red, 33-32 … Team USA went 1-5 on the power play while Canada Red was 2-6 with the man advantage ... The quarterfinals will be streamed live on FASTHockey.com and the official tournament website, which can be found here ... The semifinals, third-place game and championship contest will be broadcast live on TSN ... The 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge includes two groups of four teams. Group A features Canada Black, Canada White, Finland and Russia, while Group B includes Canada Red, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States ... Follow @USANTDP and @USAHockeyScores on Twitter for tournament updates ... Danton Cole (Pontiac, Mich.) is leading the U.S. National Under-17 Team for the third time in the tournament, having previously coached the U.S. to a second-place finish in 2011 and a third-place showing in 2013. Joining Cole on the bench is assistant coach John Gruden (Virginia, Minn.), goaltending coach Kevin Reiter (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and intern assistant coach Tyler Walsh (Lansing, Mich.).
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