Sioux Falls native Zeb Knutson scored twice and Dennis Kravchenko added an assist to help lead the United States past Russia 8-3 in the first game of the World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on Monday. Knutson, Kravchenko and C.J. Franklin are representing the Stampede and skating for the U.S. during the tournament. All 22 players on the Team USA roster skate in the USHL.
With the United States leading 1-0 after one period, Kravchenko set up Knutson for their second goal of the game just 30 seconds into the second period. Knutson struck again, this time on the power play, at 19:04 of the second to give the U.S. a 6-1 edge after two periods. Nick Schmaltz of the Green Bay Gamblers tallied two goals and two assists in the win as well while Cal Peterson (Waterloo) and Chris Birdsall (Cedar Rapids) both played half of the game and combined to stop 22 of 25 shots on the night. The United States outshot Russia 39-25 on the evening.
Team USA is in action again tomorrow (Tuesday) as they face Canada East at 6 PM (Central). Fans can watch the game live for a minimal fee on www.fasthockey.com
The Stampede return to action this Friday when they travel to Waterloo to face the Black Hawks before returning home to host Sioux City on Saturday at 7:05 PM. Tickets for Saturday's game are available through the Sioux Falls Arena Box Office or any Ticketmaster outlet.