Saturday, December 22, 2012

U.S. National Junior Team Loses to Finland, 5-1, in Final Tune-up for IIHF World Junior Championship

Press Release sent to the World of Junior Hockey

HELSINKI, Finland – The U.S. National Junior Team lost to Finland, 5-1, in its final pre-tournament contest here tonight at Helsinki Ice Hall. Blake Pietila (Brighton, Mich./Michigan Tech Univ.) scored Team USA's only goal. The team will now prepare for the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2012-Jan. 5, 2013, in Ufa, Russia.

"Finland took the lead in the first period and I thought we disrupted the flow of our play by taking penalties," said Phil Housley, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. "We cannot afford to take as many penalties as we did and expect to win. We will focus on becoming more disciplined before the tournament begins."

Finland gained a 1-0 advantage on a wrist shot from the right circle at 15:47 of the first period. Team USA nearly scored on the power play a few minutes later, but Rocco Grimaldi's (Rossmoor, Calif./Univ. of North Dakota) rebound bid was ruled to have not crossed the goal line. Following a scoreless second period, the Finns scored twice in the opening 2:17 of the third period to lead 3-0. Less than a minute later, Pietila cut the deficit to two goals by converting a rebound chance. Jacob Trouba (Rochester, Mich./Univ. of Michigan) assisted on the goal.

Finland solidified the win with its second and third power-play goals of the game at 5:02 and 11:31.

Team USA now flies to Ufa, Russia, on Sunday night (Dec. 23). The first game for the U.S. at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship is Thursday, Dec. 27, vs. Germany. Game time is 8 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) with NHL Network (DirectTV 215, Dish 403) broadcasting live and streaming live.

 (Nathan can be reached at

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