|Howard records second-straight hat trick; Team USA moves on to semifinals |
LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Isaac Howard (Hudson, Wis.) notched his second-straight hat trick as the U.S. Youth Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team rounded out preliminary play at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games with a 8-2 triumph over Switzerland today at Vaudoise Arena.
The U.S. will move on to the semifinals to face a yet to be determined opponent. Puck drop is scheduled for 5 a.m. ET and a live stream of the game can be found here.
“It was another great game today,” said head coach Scott Paluch (Bowling Green, Ohio). “I thought our guys responded really well to the early deficit and made the right adjustments to come out with the win. We’ve had a great couple of wins so far and we’re excited to carry that momentum into the semis.”
After going down 1-0 in the opening minute of regulation, Howard kickstarted a six-goal scoring run when Cruz Lucius (Grant, Minn.) fed a drop pass to Howard who fired the puck between the legs of Swiss goaltender Alessio Beglieri to tie the game with 12:16 to play in the first period.
Howard doubled the U.S. lead to 2-1 at the 9:30 mark of the period when his wrist shot from the top of the zone found the back of the net on the power play.
After being awarded a penalty shot, Lane Hutson (North Barrington, Ill.) beat Beglieri glove-side to extend Team USA’s lead to 3-1 heading into the first intermission.
Outshooting Switzerland, 16-7, in the middle frame, the U.S. took a 4-1 lead after Frank Nazar(Mt. Clemens, Mich.) collected a loose puck in the offensive zone and fired a close-range shot past Beglieri 42 seconds into the period.
Cutter Gauthier (Northville, Mich.) and Rutger McGroarty (Lincoln, Neb.) scored back-to-back goals in the opening moments of the third period to give the U.S. a 6-1 lead.
Switzerland cut the lead to 6-2 on the power play with 4:03 to play in regulation, but Howard notched his third goal of the game to secure his second-straight hat trick and regain the five-goal lead for the U.S.Ryan Chesley (Mahtomedi, Minn.) rounded out the scoring with a tally of his own to secure an 8-2 victory for the United States.
In his first start, netminder Arthur Smith (Farmington, Conn.) stopped 17 of the 19 shots he faced in the win.
NOTES: Ryan Chelsey (1G, 2A) and Isaac Howard (3G) led all U.S. skaters in scoring with three points … Hunter Brzustewicz (2A), Lane Hutson (1G, 1A), Rutger McGroarty (1G, 1A) Frank Nazar (1G, 1A) tallied two points each … Twelve skaters recorded points in the victory … The U.S. outshot Switzerland 39-19 … Full game statistics can be found here … Follow the U.S. Youth Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team as it competes at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games here.