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U.S. pulls away from Latvia in World Juniors opener

Colorado Avalance prospect Sean Behrens (Denver) and Detroit Red Wings pick Red Savage (Miami) each had a goal and an assist in the win for the U.S.

cropped image showing head to waist of players wearing blue U.S.A jerseys
The United States needed three third-period goals to get past a tough Latvia team in the opening game of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
Kimberly Moss / USA Today Sports

MONCTON, New Brunswick — Team USA got an early test in the opening game of preliminary round play at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship Monday, requiring three third-period goals to dispatch a pesky Latvia team, 5-2.

The U.S. outshot Latvia 46-17 and got two-point games from Colorado Avalance prospect Sean Behrens (Denver) and Detroit Red Wings pick Red Savage (Miami) — both had one goal and one assist in the win. Dylan Duke , a Tampa Bay Lightning prospect who plays at Michigan, added a pair of assists for the U.S.

University of Minnesota forward Jimmy Snuggerud started the game's scoring 24 seconds into the second period when a charge to the net resulted in a loose puck in the crease that he slammed home. His Gophers linemate, Logan Cooley , picked up an assist on the play.

Latvia answered four minutes later with a tic-tac-toe passing play finished off by Anri Ravinskis to tie the game at a goal apiece. After Sean Behrens put the U.S. back in front with a 2-1 lead at 9:17 of the middle period, the Latvians responded again to tie going into the third on a goal from Niks Fenenko .

Former Minnesota forward Chaz Lucius (Winnipeg Jets) scored the eventual game-winner for the Americans just under two minutes into the third period. Behrens and North Dakota forward Jackson Blake (Carolina Hurricanes) assisted on the goal. Red Savage and Luke Hughes (New Jersey Devils) rounded out the scoring for the U.S.


Trey Augustine stopped 15 of 17 shots he faced for the Americans while Patriks Berzins stopped 41 of 46 U.S. shots for Latvia. The U.S. went 0-for-2 on the power play in the game.

Team USA has Tuesday off before continuing preliminary round play against Slovakia on Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 3 p.m. CT in Moncton.

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