U.S. win assures team first place in Group A
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Chris Krieder and Mitch Callahan scored, leading the United States to a 2-1 win over Switzerland at the World Junior Championship on Friday night.
The undefeated U.S. (4-0) finished first in Group A and earned a bye into the semifinal round. Maybe even more significant, the Americans get an extra day of rest.
“It’s very important,” U.S. coach Keith Allain said. “We’ve got a couple of guys who are banged up and I could sense we had some tired guys in the lineup.”
Switzerland will face Canada in the quarterfinals. Sweden beat Canada 6-5 in a shootout earlier Friday. In other games, Russia routed the Czech Republic 8-3 and Finland shut down Slovakia 6-0.
Canada hadn’t lost a World Juniors preliminary round game since Dec 29, 2007.
“Obviously, we picked the hard way to get to the gold medal,” said Canada’s Brayden Schenn, who scored his tournament-leading seventh goal. “Canada isn’t usually part of the quarterfinals, but this year we are so hopefully it all works out.”
The U.S. fell behind at 6:01 in the first period, when Inti Pestoni ripped a shot past goalie Jack Campbell. But Krieder evened things with a power-play goal at 10:15.
Switzerland (2-2) used a tight-checking strategy, clogging the passing lanes and limiting the United States’ offensive chances. The U.S. had 19 shots on Swiss goalie Benjamin Conz, who made 40 saves.
Callahan scored at 13:53 of the second. Hustling over the blue line, he caused a turnover on a Switzerland breakout, then gathered the loose puck behind the net and stuffed it past Conz for a 2-1 lead.
“I’m the kind of guy who just likes to keep it simple,” Callahan said. “When I got to the puck, I just wanted to keep it simple and I just got the puck to the net.”
Campbell stopped 25 shots for his fourth win of the tournament.
“He’s the backbone to our team,” Callahan said of Campbell.
Conz had 40 saves.