The U.S. nearly opened the scoring five minutes into the frame off a quick transition play. Starting behind Team USA’s own goal, U.S. goaltender Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.) backhanded a pass into the corner where Ty Emberson (Eau Claire, Wis.) sent a clearing pass up the ice to a streaking Nick Robertson (Northville, Mich.). As Robertson entered the neutral zone, he found Alex Turcotte (Island Lake, Ill.) at the right wall where he drove toward goal before sliding a shot through the crease and away from the left post.
Both goalies stood tall during the mid-portion of the period — including a pair of saves by Knight during a Canadian powerplay — as each team searched for the game’s opening goal.
With 5:07 to play in the opening frame, Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass.) gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead during a two-man advantage. With two Canadian players in the penalty box, the U.S. powerplay went to work generated a pair of chances before Trevor Zegras (Bedford, N.Y.) found Cam York (Anaheim Hills, Calif.), who surveyed the zone before dishing to Wahlstrom at the right face-off dot for a low-waisted shot past Canada’s goaltender, Alexis Gravel.
Canada responded just a minute later, however, when an odd-man rush ended with Braden Schneider beating Knight low glove-side.
Just :55 after Canada evened the score, Cole Caufield (Stevens point, Wis.) put the U.S. back in the lead with a sharp-angled powerplay goal. After a chance in close wouldn’t go, Turcotte collected the puck behind Canada’s goal, avoided two poke-checks by Canadian defenders and shifted the puck over to the bottom right face-off circle where Caufield hesitated before firing a shot over Gravel’s shoulder and into the top-left corner.
Two quick goals 2:43 into the second frame gave Canada a 3-2 lead. Nolan Foote was behind both goals, first beating Knight less than a minute into the frame with a close-ranged effort before then claiming the primary assist on Joe Veleno’s redirected powerplay goal.
With Canada trying to push its lead on a man-advantage, Knight was called upon again to make a monumental save. The play started at the blue line, where Alexis Lafreniere waited for a shooting lane to open before throwing the puck to the left of goal where Kirby Dach collected the pass mid-spin as he tried stuffing the puck inside the far post but was met by Knight’s quick left-leg.
K’Andre Miller (Minnetonka, Minn.) then evened things up with a long-ranged shot from the right point with 5:26 to play in the frame. Trevor Janicke (Maple Grove, Minn.) started the play by cycling behind Canada’s goal and dishing it up the wall to Miller, who collected the pass and held for a moment before firing it to the left-side of goal and past a screened Gravel.
Team USA needed just 26 seconds into the third period to reclaim the lead. After collecting the puck below the goal line,Jack Drury (Winnetka, Ill.) crept towards the slot before sending a low shot on goal that forced a rebound Joel Farabee (Cicero, N.Y.) was able to one-time into the empty net.
Just past the midway point of the frame, another long-ranged shot from the point found its way into net for a 5-3 U.S. lead. Robertson initiated the play, this time entering Canada’s zone and drawing a defender out of position before dropping the puck to an oncoming Ryan Johnson (Irvine, Calif.). After collecting the pass, Johnson stepped into a hard wrist shot that Turcotte was able to redirect into the top-left corner for a two-goal U.S. lead.