For many hockey purists, winning a game via shootout is basically settling the score through a skills competition.
They firmly believe that if a game is tied after 60 minutes, it should be determined by a goal in overtime with play continuing until someone scores no matter how long it takes.
But if you ask Team U.S.A and their followers, they couldn’t care less what people think as U.S. downed Russia 4-3 by virtue of a shootout in their semifinal matchup at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Team USA will now compete against Canada in the gold medal game on January 5 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
The Russians will play for the bronze medal when they line up against Sweden.
“I’m so happy for our guys and the fight that they showed,” said Bob Motzko, head coach of the 2017 U.S. National Junior Team.
“That was a tremendous game to be a part of. We'll enjoy this for a little, but our guys know the mission isn’t over. It's exciting to know we have a chance at the gold medal.”
Troy Terry from the University of Denver Pioneers was incredible in the shoot-out scoring three goals including the game-winner in the seventh round.
Terry used three different fakes to beat the big Russian goalie between the legs.
“He is such a big goalie, we just figured that going five hole would be the best option for us to score,” admitted Terry,
Colin White, with two, and Luke Kunin scored for the Americans in regulation.
Denis Guryanov scored twice and Kirill Kaprizov added another for the Russians.
The shootout went back and forth a couple of times with the Russians taking the lead and then the Americans.
Alexander Polunin hit the crossbar for Russia prior to Terry’s game clincher.
American goaltender Tyler Parsons stopped 33 shots for the win while Russian keeper Ilya Samsonov made 40 saves in defeat.
With the semifinal victory, the United States registered their first victory over the Russians in the knockout round at the world junior hockey championship.
Previous to their dramatic shootout victory, the U.S. was 0-7 versus Russia.
Most recently, Russia defeated the U.S. 5-3 in the 2014 quarter-finals, 3-2 in the 2015 quarterfinals, and 2-1 in the 2016 semifinals.
The two teams met up for the second time in the tournament after a preliminary round game on December 29 where the Americans came out on top 3-2.
The United States will now advance to the gold medal game for just the fifth time in the country’s world junior history.
The Americans, who earned bronze last year, are seeking their first World Junior gold since beating Sweden in the 2013 final. The previous two U.S. titles came in 2004 and 2010.
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