Yarmouth, N.S.—A two goal third period lifted Team USA to a 4-1 victory over Russia in the gold medal game of the World Junior A Challenge in Canada on Sunday. Stampede forward Dennis Kravchenko set up fellow forward C.J. Franklin for the fourth goal of the game that cemented the victory at 13:12 of the third period.
The U.S. finished the tournament with a perfect 4-0-0 mark and it marked the second straight year, and fifth overall, that Team USA has taken gold at the tournament. The entire 22-man roster consisted of players from the USHL.
With the game tied late in the second period, Kyle Connor (Youngstown) scored an even strength goal with just 14 seconds remaining to give the U.S. a 2-1 advantage heading into the locker room. Andrew Oglevie (Cedar Rapids) gave the U.S. a little breathing room when he scored 8:28 into the third. Franklin sealed the game with his goal at 13:12. Cal Peterson (Waterloo) stopped 16 of 17 shots to earn the win in goal for the U.S. who outshot Russia 29-17.
Kravchenko finished the tournament with four points (1g, 3a) as did Zeb Knutson (2g, 2a) while Franklin had three points (2g, 1a). Kravchenko served as a captain for the U.S. squad while Franklin was an assistant captain.
Derek Lalonde (Green Bay) served as head coach of the U.S. while Anthony Noreen (Youngstown) and Mark Abalan (Sioux City) served as assistant coaches.
"We're thrilled to win this tournament," said Derek Lalonde, head coach of the U.S. Junior Select Team. We stayed focused all week and kept it up today. I thought the difference was our depth. We wore Russia down, especially on our second goal. Then I thought we managed the third period very well."
Franklin, Knutson and Kravchenko will return back to Sioux Falls and re-join the Stampede this weekend as the Herd return home to the Sioux Falls Arena Friday and Saturday night. Tickets for both games are available through the Sioux Falls Arena box office or any Ticketmaster outlet.