BUFFALO, New York — Four different players scored three points, including Melissa Samoskevich (Sandy Hook, Conn./Shattuck-St. Mary’s) with three goals, to led the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team to a 7-1 victory over Russia, securing the top seed in Group A and a bye to the semifinal in the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship tonight in at HARBORCENTER.
“We had great effort from all four lines tonight and everyone contributed offensively,” said Joel Johnson, head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team. “We’ll enjoy a day off tomorrow, and continue getting ready for the next game on Sunday.”The U.S. opened the scoring with 8:16 left in the first period, when U.S. captain Jincy Dunne (O’Fallon, Mo./St. Louis Lady Blues U19) held in a Russian clearing attempt and passed to Samoskevich at the right half wall. Samoskevich skated to lower right circle and snapped a wrist shot that fluttered over Russian goaltender Valeria Tarakanova and in to give Team USA the 1-0 lead. In the period’s final five seconds, Abby Roque (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich./Sault Area High School) won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Patricia Marshall (Theif River Falls, Minn./Shattuck-St. Mary’s) for a point shot, which Samoskevich tipped in for Team USA’s second goal.
In the second period, Russia notched a goal just 33 seconds into the stanza to cut Team USA’s lead in half. However, at 3:19, the U.S. built another two-goal lead when Alex Woken (Fargo, N.D./Shattuck-St. Mary’s) stole the puck behind the Russian net, walked out in front and stuffed the puck between the goaltender’s pads. Later, the U.S. capitalized on the power play when Dunne took a point shot that Alyssa Gorecki (Monee, Ill./Chicago Mission) tipped while falling in front of the net, giving Team USA a 4-1 lead. With just 3:26 to go in the period, USA’s Presley Norby (Shorewood, Minn./Minnetonka High School) poked in the loose puck for the fifth goal.
In the final frame, Samoskevich completed her hat trick batting in loose puck for the 6-1 lead. Sophia Shaver (Wayzata, Minn./Wayzata High School) capped game scoring when she corralled a Samantha Davis (Pembroke, Mass./Tabor Academy) rebound in the high slot and blasted a wrist shot high on the glove side.
With tonight’s victory, Team USA earns top spot in the Group A and a bye to the semifinals. The U.S. will play the winner of the Czech Republic-Sweden quarterfinal game. Puck drop will be 7 p.m. ET on Sunday (Jan. 11).
Notes: Melissa Samoskevich was named U.S. Player of the game … Eleven different players tallied at least a point in tonight’s game … Jincy Dunne (0-3—3), Rebecca Gilmore (0-3—3), Alyssa Gorecki (1-2—3) and Samoskevich (3-0—3) each notched three points in tonight’s contest … Samoskevich is tied for the tournament lead in goals with four … The U.S. outshot Russia 36-9 … U.S. goaltender Kaitlin Burt stopped eight-of-nine shots in tonight’s victory. Through two games she has stopped 23 of 25 shots, giving her a .960 goal-against average … Keep up with the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team by visiting USAWomensHockey.com. Follow @USAHockeyScores for live in-game updates, join the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship conversation on Twitter using #U18WWC.