U.S. ROUTS SWISS, BOOKS SPOT IN WJAC SEMIFINALS
JASON LA ROSE
BONNYVILLE, Alta. – Cayden Primeau needed to make just 15 saves for the shutout, and the offence in front of him scored early and often as the United States earned a trip to the semifinals at the 2016 World Junior A Challenge with a 9-0 quarter-final win over Switzerland on Wednesday.
The Americans became the seventh team in tournament history to score at least nine goals in a game, and their nine-goal margin of victory is the largest ever.
The win means the U.S. will face Russia in the first semifinal on Thursday afternoon (3:30 p.m. MT).
Alex Limoges, Zach Solow, Chris Berger and Tarek Baker were the offensive leaders for the Americans, finishing with a goal and two assists each. In all, nine different players scored goals and 14 recorded at least one point.
Clayton Phillips got the scoring started just 2:41 in, hammering a slap shot off the far post and past Swiss goaltender Beat Trudel, and Solow added a power-play goal less than five minutes after that for a 2-0 lead.
Hank Crone made it 3-0 at 12:41, beating Trudel from a sharp angle, and Solow went cross-crease to find Brannon McManus for the fourth American goal of the first period at 16:22.
The U.S. dominated the opening 20 minutes, outshooting Switzerland 18-2.
It took only 54 seconds of the second period for Berger to push the advantage to 5-0, going to the backhand on the breakaway to beat Trudel, and Hank Crone went low along the ice for the 6-0 goal just past the nine-minute mark.
That would be all for Trudel, who allowed six goals on 29 shots; he was replaced by Aleksander Jaks.
The new Swiss netminder didn’t fare much better, allowing a goal on the first shot he faced from Baker to send the Americans to the dressing room up by a converted touchdown.
Switzerland tried to push back in the third, recording more shots in the final frame (eight) than it had in the first two (seven), but nothing beat Primeau, who has allowed just one goal in his two starts.
Alex Limoges netted the Americans’ second power-play goal – they finished 2-for-2 with the man advantage – at 11:20 of the third, and Mick Messner tipped in a point shot from Alex Green to finish the scoring.
The Swiss will play next in the fifth-place game Friday (3:30 p.m. MT), taking on the loser of the second quarter-final between Canada West and the Czech Republic.