USA Juniors beat Finland

     Wednesday from USA Hockey:

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — For the second consecutive game, Team USA jumped out to a 4-0 lead en route to a 6-3 win over Finland at the 2010 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp.

The contest featured 22 of the 28 U.S. players currently participating in the camp and auditioning for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will take part in the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2010-Jan. 5, 2011, in Buffalo, N.Y.

"I thought we displayed a lot more synergy tonight," said Keith Allain, head coach of the 2011 U.S. National Junior Team. "Once again, we jumped out to a quick lead, which is something we definitely want to carry into Buffalo."

The U.S. took an early 1-0 lead with a power-play goal less than three minutes into the game. Jeremy Morin (Auburn, N.Y.) collected a feed from Adam Clendening (Niagara Falls, N.Y.) and snapped a shot over the blocker of Jonathan Iilahti from above the left circle.

Midway through the first period, Team USA grabbed a two-goal advantage when Nick Bjugstad (Blaine, Minn.) buried a rebound opportunity off of a shot by Justin Faulk (South St. Paul, Minn.). Chris Brown (Flower Mound, Texas) made the score 3-0 heading into the first intermission when he intercepted a pass in the neutral zone, chipped the puck over a defenseman and lifted a shot past Iilahti’s glove.

Less than five minutes into the second period, Brock Nelson (Minneapolis, Minn.) gave the U.S. a 4-0 lead with a tap-in power-play goal from the crease. Then, following a Finland goal by Julius Junttila, Chris Kreider (Boxford, Mass.) redirected a floating wrist shot by Derek Forbort (Duluth, Minn.) between Iilahti’s pads to restore Team USA’s four-goal edge.

Finland cut the U.S. lead to three again while on the two-man advantage. But Bjugstad notched his second of the game from the right side of the net with less than 10 seconds remaining in the period to give Team USA a 6-2 lead after two.

Finland scored the lone goal of the third period, but could not mount a comeback. U.S. goalie Andy Iles (Ithaca, N.Y.) made 18 saves in the win, while Iilahti turned aside 20 shots in a losing effort. The U.S. will return to action Friday at 4 p.m. CDT against Sweden.

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