LANGLEY, B.C. – Sean Kuraly scored a pair of insurance goals in the third period as the United States advanced to the semifinals at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge with a 6-3 quarter-final victory over Russia on Thursday afternoon.
The win moves the U.S. into a Friday semifinal match-up with Canada East in a rematch of last year’s gold medal game, won 6-4 by the Americans. The two teams also met in a pre-tournament game last Saturday, with the Americans earning a 4-1 victory in North Delta, B.C.
Kuraly’s first goal came just 67 seconds after Alexei Kudreman had pulled Russia to within one at 4-3, and the Dublin, Ohio, native rounded out the scoring late with his third goal of the tournament, moving him into a tie with teammate Mario Lucia atop the tournament scoring chart – both Americans have three goals and an assist through three games.
Lucia, Alex Broadhurst, Austyn Young and Ethan Prow also scored for the U.S., which peppered Russian netminder Andrey Vasilevski with 55 shots – at least 17 in each of the three periods.
Vasilevski has now faced 120 shots in almost 165 minutes of work in the tournament, and has been named Russia’s Player of the Game in both of his starts, posting a respectable .925 save percentage overall.
Ilya Yamkin and Bogdan Yakimov scored the other goals for Russia, which will play in the fifth-place game (Saturday, 4 p.m. PT) for the second year in a row, taking on the loser of Thursday’s late quarter-final between Canada West and the Czech Republic.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)