USA Advances to Quarterfinals

By League Press Release

U.S. National Junior Team Skates By Slovakia, 3-1,
At 2003 IIHF World Junior Championship

U.S. Advances To Quarterfinals; Jan. 2 Game To Be
Televised On YES Network

SYDNEY, Nova Scotia — The United States National
Junior Team advanced to the Quarterfinal Round of the
2003 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior
Championship by defeating Slovakia, 3-1, here this
afternoon. With the win, the U.S. completes
Preliminary Round play with a 3-1-0 record, earning
second place in Group A. Team USA will take on either
the Czech Republic (1-1-1) or Sweden (1-2-0) in the
quarterfinals in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Jan. 2. The
game will be televised on the YES Network at 7:00 p.m.
EST. The game can also be heard live exclusively
through an online audiocast at www.USAHockey.com. To
listen to the live play-by-play commentary via
telephone, dial toll-free (800) 846-4700, code no.
8724 (USAH).

Slovakia opened the scoring 7:31 into the first period
when Dominik Granak’s long pass found Juraj Sykora
alone behind the U.S. defense. Sykora’s wrister from
inside the left face-off circle deflected off the pad
of Team USA goaltender Bob Goepfert (Kings Park,
N.Y./Providence College) and into the net.

The U.S. evened the score five minutes into the second
period after forward Chris Higgins (Smithtown,
N.Y./Yale Univ.) stickhandled past two defenders along
the boards to work his way toward the net. After two
shot attempts, Higgins batted home a rebound on the
left side for his third goal of the tournament.
Forwards Dwight Helminen (Brighton, Mich./Univ. of
Michigan) and Ryan Kesler (Livonia, Mich./Ohio State
Univ.) added assists on the game-tying goal.

Team USA staked a 2-1 lead just 42 seconds later. U.S.
forward Zach Parise (Faribault, Minn./Univ. of North
Dakota) took a lead pass from defenseman Ryan Suter
(Madison, Wis./U.S. National Under-18 Team) and shed a
defender to fire a wrist shot that beat Slovakian
netminder Jan Chovan top-shelf. Team captain Eric
Nystrom (Syosset, N.Y./Univ. of Michigan) also
recorded an assist on the eventual game winner.

With less than eight minutes remaining in the contest,
Team USA added an insurance goal on the power play.
Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y./Guelph Storm) took a pass
from Parise from along the boards, and his one-timer
found the corner of the net.

Goepfert won his third consecutive game for the U.S.,
stopping 26 of 27 shots. Chovan made 23 saves in the
loss for Slovakia, which finished in third place in
Group A with a 2-2-0 record.

GAME SUMMARY

Slovakia 1 – 0 – 0 — 1
United States 0 – 2 – 1 — 3

First Period: Scoring: 1, SVK, Sykora (Granak,
Kokavec), 7:31. Penalties: Granak, SVK (interference),
2:49; Kokavec, SVK (interference), 11:56; Jones, USA
(high sticking), 14:13; Greene, USA (cross checking),
14:40; Greene, USA (roughing), 17:59.

Second Period: Scoring: 2, USA, Higgins (Helminen,
Kesler), 5:02. 3, USA, Parise (Nystrom, Suter), 5:44.
Penalties: Brown, USA (slashing), 14:32; Guyer, USA
(roughing), 19:33.

Third Period: Scoring: 4, USA, Brown (Nystrom,
Parise), 12:19 (pp). Penalties: Slovak, SVK
(elbowing), 11:15; Slovak, SVK (abuse of
official–10-min./game misconduct), 12:19; Whitney,
USA (slashing), 20:00; Whitney, USA (tripping), 20:00.

Shots: SVK: 10 – 7 – 10 — 27. USA: 8 – 7 – 11 — 26.

Goaltenders: SVK: Chovan (26 shots, 23 saves).

USA:
Goepfert (27 shots, 26 saves).

Referee: Ulf Radbjer. Linesmen: Lars Kronborg, Michel
Cormier.

Attendance: 2,238.