Team USA scores four power play goals in victory over Latvia in U18 Worlds
The Latvians took seven minor penalties and one major in the opening round game of Group B play at the 2023 IIHF U18 Worlds.
BASEL, Switzerland — Team USA took advantage of Latvian penalty trouble in the opening round game of Group B play at the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championships in Basel, Switzerland. The Americans came away with a 7-1 victory after scoring four times on the power play.
Sweden 8, Canada 0
USA 7, Latvia 1
Slovakia 3, Czechia 2 (SO)
Finland 4, Switzerland 2
Although the USA came out with a big win on Thursday, it took them a while to get adjusted to IIHF play. Latvia outshot the Americans in the first period, 11-7, and the score was an even 0-0 after the first 20 minutes of the match.
Unfortunately for Latvia, they couldn't keep that score even in the second frame as it took three minor penalties and one major for cross-checking.
Team USA opened scoring on the man-advantage as Minnesota commit Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) found himself all alone in the right circle where he sniped the puck past netminder Aksels Ozols. Boston College commit Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) doubled the lead as his shot from the high slot beat Ozols clean on the very next power play opportunity. Will Smith (Lexington, Mass. / Boston College) made it 3-0 before the end of the second period as he tipped in a puck off a shot by Leonard.
Cole x Cole + Hags for our first of the tourney!#U18MensWorlds pic.twitter.com/uy4msYE202— USA Hockey (@usahockey) April 20, 2023
Latvia made a goaltending change early in the third, going from Ozols to Nils Maurins. The Americans didn't have any trouble adapting to that though as Oliver Moore (Mounds View, Minn. / Minnesota) saw Maurins lose his balance in the crease and took advantage to shoot into a wide open net, again, on the power play. Smith then potted his second of the game just a few minutes later during a 5-on-3 opportunity.
Latvia's lone goal of the game came shorthanded on a breakaway from Valters Niedrajs.
Sal Guzzo (Old Tappan, N.J. / Harvard) and Zach Schulz (South Lyon, Mich. / Wisconsin) each added goals of their own late in regulation for a final score of 7-1.
Trey Augustine (South Lyon, Mich. / Michigan State) made 19 saves on 20 shots on goal. Warroad's Hampton Slukynsky (Warroad, Minn. / Northern Michigan) earned some minutes in goal late in the third period and he stopped all four shots he faced.
Defenseman Darels Uljanskis earned player of the game honors for Latvia while forward Ryan Leonard earned the honor for the USA after posting a goal and two assists. Cole Hutson (North Barrington, Ill. / Boston University) and Zeev Buium (Laguna Niguel, Calif. / Denver) had the highest time-on-ice stats with 19:36 and 19:14, respectively.
Latvia and USA are in Group B preliminary round play alongside Finland, Norway, and host-country Switzerland. America will play Norway next on Saturday, April 22 at noon central time. Latvia will play Finland at 9 a.m. CT Friday.
USA 7, LATVIA 1
First period scoring — None.
Penalties — LAT, Krists Retenais (delay of game) 2:21; USA, Salvatore Guzzo (tripping) 13:43; USA, Drew Fortescue (tripping) 16:32; LAT, Darels Uljanskis (holding) 17:50
Second period scoring — 1. USA, Cole Eiserman (James Hagens, Cole Hutson) 20:59 (pp); 2. USA, Ryan Leonard (Gabe Perreault, Casey Terrance) 30:05 (pp); 3. USA, Will Smith (Leonard, Hutson) 34:15
Penalties — LAT, Davids Livsics (boarding) 20:47; LAT, Rauls Ozollapa (boarding) 28:08; LAT, Valdis Dommers (tripping) 37:36; LAT, Markuss Streikiss (cross-checking - major penalty) 39:43
Third period scoring — 4. USA, Oliver Moore (Hutson, Eiserman) 40:22 (pp); 1. LAT, Valters Niedrajs (Marks Mezins) 41:43 (sh); 5. USA, Smith (Perreault, Leonard) 44:05 (5-on-3); 6. USA, Guzzo (Danny Nelson, Aram Minnetian) 54:15; 7. Zach Schulz (Moore, Terrance) 55:29
Penalties — LAT, Martins Slogs (interference) 43:10; USA, Fortescue (tripping) 48:08; USA, Leonard (hooking) 57:24; LAT, Bench Minor (too many men) 59:45
Penalties-minutes: USA, 4-8; LAT, 8-39
Power-play goals-opportunities: USA, 4-7; LAT, 0-3
SOG: USA, 7-15-14—36; LAT, 11-3-10—24
Goalie Saves: USA, Trey Augustine 11-3-5—19 (1GA); USA, Hampton Slukynsky 0-0-4—4 (0GA); LAT, Aksels Ozols 7-12-1—20 (3GA); LAT, Nils Maurins 0-0-9—13 (4GA)
Referees: Geoffery Barcelo, Riku Brander
Linesmen: Markus Merk, Tobias Nordlander