CAMROSE, Alta. -- Brandon Saad (Gibsonia, Pa./Saginaw Spirit) scored two goals and added three assists, as a U.S. squad of candidates for the 2012 U.S. National Junior Team topped Switzerland, 7-3, tonight at the Edgeworth Centre.
Tonight's game was the second of three pre-tournament games designed to prepare the U.S. National Junior Team for the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, which will take place Monday (Dec. 26) through Jan. 5 in Edmonton and Calgary, Alta. The final 22-man roster for Team USA will be announced tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. EST at USAHockey.com.
"I really liked what I saw from our guys tonight," said Dean Blais, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. "We are going to have some incredibly tough decisions to get down from 28 players to our final 22-man list."
Prelim Swiss 4The U.S. jumped out to a quick lead when Austin Czarnik (Washington, Mich./Miami University) created a turnover in Switzerland's end and beat Swiss goalie Lukas Meili just 23 seconds into the game. Saad notched his first goal of the night at 15:33 of the opening frame to give Team USA a two-goal lead. Less than two minutes later, Bill Arnold (Needham, Mass./Boston College) connected on a two-on-one rush when he fired a shot high to the glove side to give the U.S. a 3-0 advantage after one.
Switzerland cut the U.S. lead to two goals with a power-play marker at 1:11 of the second period. But Emerson Etem (Long Beach, Calif./Medicine Hat Tigers) notched a power-play goal of his own less than three minutes later to make the score 4-1. Charlie Coyle (East Weymouth, Mass./Boston Univ.) then pushed Team USA's advantage to four goals with a deflection off of a shot by Jake Trouba (Rochester, Mich./U.S. National Under-18 Team).
Following another Swiss goal, T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill./Univ. of Notre Dame) connected into a wide open net thanks to a pass from Saad with just 11 seconds left in the middle frame to give Team USA a 6-2 lead heading into the third period.
Both teams traded goals in the final stanza to close out the scoring, as Saad took advantage of a breakaway opportunity and slipped a shot between the pads of Meili for his second goal of the night. Team USA goalie John Gibson (Pittsburgh, Pa./Kitchener Rangers) stopped 19 shots in the win, while Meili made 30 saves in a losing effort.
Next up for Team USA is an exhibition game on Friday (Dec. 23) against Slovakia in Three Hills, Alta. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 p.m. MST, with full coverage at USAHockey.com.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)