KELLER’S FOUR POINTS HELP U.S. TO SECOND STRAIGHT U17 WIN
LAMBTON SHORES, Ont. – Clayton Keller had two goals and two assists to pace the American offence as the United States made it two wins in as many days at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a 7-1 victory over Slovakia on Monday.
The U.S. has won nine straight at the U17 tournament overall, including a victory in the bronze medal game in 2013, and six in a row en route to a gold medal at last January’s event in Cape Breton, N.S.
Nick Pastujov and William Lockwood also found the back of the net twice for the Americans, while Chad Kryz had three assists, Luke Martin collected two and Max Jones had a goal and a helper.
Adam Ruzicka was the lone goal scorer for Slovakia.
Pastujov opened the scoring with only 2:34 gone in the first period; his shot found a hole between the post and the pad of Slovak netminder David Hrenak to make it 1-0.
The U.S. made it 2-0 on the power play just past the halfway mark of the first when Jones took a cross-ice pass from Keller and rifled a wrist shot over Hrenak’s right shoulder from the top of the face-off circle.
Keller got his first 8:49 into the second period, going to the backhand on a shorthanded breakaway to push the American lead to 3-0, but Slovakia answered two minutes later when Marian Studenic found Ruzicka alone in front to cut the U.S. advantage back to two.
Lockwood got that goal right back for the Americans just 1:08 later, sending the defending gold medallists to the dressing room up 4-1 through 40 minutes.
The U.S. poured it on in the third period thanks to three goals on six power play opportunities.
First it was Keller, who banked in a shot from behind the net at 3:56, followed by Pastujov knocking in a Patrick Khodorenko rebound on a two-man advantage at 12:06, and Lockwood’s one-timer from the slot at 18:38, providing the final margin of victory.
The Americans try for their third consecutive perfect preliminary round when they face Canada Red on Tuesday night (7 p.m. ET), while the Slovaks face Sweden in the matinee at The Shores Recreation Centre (3 p.m. ET).