The United States bested Russia following a two goal explosion in the second period. They won 3-1 to take first place in Group B.
Danil Misyul played for Team Russia and had 12 total penalty minutes and was a minus-1 in 5:22 of ice time. He took his penalties with less than a minute to go at 19:17 in the first period when he drew two minutes for a check to the head and a ten-minute misconduct.
Following a scoreless first and part of a scoreless second, when it seemed no one would be beating Russian goalie Amir Miftakhov – he pitched a shutout when coming in in relief in the game against the Czechs and shutout Canada in his first start, so he had not given up a goal in the tournament – the US just exploded for some offense.
It began when Arthur Kaliyev scored his first of the night at the 16:41 mark of the second frame. Trevor Zegras and Cole Caufield had the assists to help make it 1-0.
Then, just six seconds later, right off of the faceoff, Nicholas Robertson scored from Oliver Wahlstrom to make it 2-0. According to the NHL Network’s broadcast, this six seconds between goals tied a World Junior Championship record (Russia did the same thing in 2005 and Finland did it in 1979).
After finally solving Miftakhov, the US beat him again 1:20 into the third period. Kaliyev notched his second of the game (from Zegras and Jack Drury) to make it 3-0.
It was after this goal that Russia pulled Miftakhov for Yaroslav Askarov. This seemed to jumpstart the Russians, as less than two minutes later, at 3:04, Alexander Romanov scored from Danil Zhuravlyov and Nikita Alexandrov. Romanov would later be named player of the game for Russia. Goaltender Spencer Knight was the player of the game for the Americans.
Russia would pull Askarov with just over two minutes to go in regulation and the Russians would have a 6-on-5 advantage. At 19:02, Dmitri Voronkov and Curtis Hall took matching roughing minors stemming from Parker Ford high-sticking a Russian player. With Ford getting two minutes for high-sticking, the Russians ended the game on the power play. They were at 6-on-4 with Aksarov still pulled, but could not crack Knight and the USA took the 3-1 victory.
Miftakhov and Askarov combined for 21 saves on 24 American shots while Knight was equal to 25 of the 26 he faced.
As mentioned, the US currently stands on top of the Group B standings with two wins, a loss and 13 goals for, ten against for a plus-3 goal differential. They next play against the host Czech Republic tomorrow. Russia plays next on New Year’s Eve (Tuesday) against Germany.
Tomorrow, as far as Devils prospects are concerned, we will see Sweden take on Kazakhstan, Canada against Germany and Switzerland versus Slovakia.