World Juniors: USA Topples Latvia 6-1 in WJC Opener

BY Fansided and Lachlan Irvine/FanSided via Puck Prose • December 27, 2016

World Juniors: The United States opened up Group B play with a convincing 6-1 rout of Team Latvia. Arizona Coyotes 2016 first rounder Clayton Keller scored twice for the Americans while goalie Tyler Parsons made 11 saves.

The Americans came in as the heavy favorites for this World Juniors opener, but for a while, it seemed like Latvia would make a game out of it.

Latvian forward Renars Krastenbergs scored a nifty breakaway goal in the first period to tie the game at one. But the goal seemed to be a wake-up call for the Americans, and they quickly took control.

Keller and Colin White both scored in the second to put Team USA up 3-1, but the third period was where the Americans took over. Team USA posted three goals in the game’s final ten minutes, starting with Keller’s second tally at the 12-minute mark. Maple Leafs prospect Jeremy Bracco scored his first of the tournament with four minutes to go. Minnesota Wild pick Jordan Greenway would finish the game off with his first less than two minutes later

The score might have been doubled had it not been for the play of Latvian goalie Marek Mitens. Mitens, who was playing in his first World Juniors game, made 24 saves in the loss.

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The Americans definitely have a stellar lineup, especially on defense. But there’s still some holes to plug as they go along with games against Canada and Russia looming. But Team USA always relishes the underdog status they usually are tagged with, and there’s no reason why they can’t challenge for the gold medal.

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Team USA returns to action on Wednesday when they play Slovakia, while Latvia just wrapped up their second game against Team Russia. The Russians handed Latvia their second loss in a convincing 9-1 win.

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