Anders Bjork looks for the loose puck in front of the Quebec net. Photo by JC Pinheiro / Hockey Canada Images.
VICTORIAVILLE, Quebec – Chris Wilkie (Omaha, Neb.) tallied one goal and collected two assists, as the U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated Canada's Team Quebec, 5-1, at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge here tonight at the Colisee Desjardins. With the win, Team USA's record improves to 2-1-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L).
"It was our fourth game in four nights, but that's why we condition and train the way we do," said Danton Cole, head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team. "We finished our checks, moved the puck well up ice and played solid defensively."
Team USA scored first when Sonny Milano (Massapequa, N.Y.) found Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) with a behind-the-back pass at 2:15 of the opening frame. Eichel tipped the puck into the net from the top of the crease. Wilkie also assisted on the power-play tally. The U.S. outshot Quebec, 14-4, in the first period.
Team USA celebrates one of its five goals versus Quebec. Photo by JC Pinheiro / Hockey Canada Images.
The U.S. doubled its lead at 11:55 of the second stanza when Ryan MacInnis (St. Louis, Mo.) wristed the puck into the net from the slot. Wilkie and Brandon Fortunato (North Hills, N.Y.) collected assists on the goal. Austin Poganski (St. Cloud, Minn.) made a move around the Quebec defenders and toward the net, backhanding the third U.S. goal past Julio Billia. Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) had the lone helper.
Ryan Bliss (Bedford, N.H.) snuck a shot through a screen in front to give the U.S. a three-goal cushion. The goal, scored at 11:45 of the final frame, was assisted on by Joshua Wesley (Raleigh, N.C.) and Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.). On a delayed penalty call, Wilkie scored to put Team USA on top, 5-1, at 13:22. Milano registered an assist on the play. The U.S. allowed just two shots on goal in the period and skated away with the win.
Chris Birdsall (Glen Rock, N.J.) made 17 saves in the victory for Team USA, while Billia made 42 stops in the loss for Quebec.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team next faces Slovakia on Jan. 2, 2013, in Drummondville, Quebec at Centre Marcel Dionne. Puck drop is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EST.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)