Goals were very hard to come by in the United States' opening game of the World Juniors tournament. The teams traded a goal each in the first period and would not hit the net again in regulation or overtime. A shootout was needed to settle things, which the US won to take two out of three points in their first game of the tournament.
It was an inauspicious start for the US team. A miscommunication between goalie Thatcher Demko and Noah Hanifin led to a turnover behind the US net. Finland's Mikko Rantanen picked up the puck and banked a shot off Auston Matthews and into the goal.
But the US would rebound to end the first period tied thanks to this beautiful no-look pass by Jack Eichel to Alex Tuch in front of the net while on the power play.
The US dominated the second period, but couldn't extend their lead. The third period was much more back-and-forth, including a brief scramble in front of the US net that featured about three quality chances for the Finns. The game went to overtime, where no one was able to score either. American Anthony Louis had a spinning shot in the slot that was just kicked out by the Finnish goalie, while Finland had a chance to win at the buzzer, where Will Butcher dove to block a shot towards an otherwise open net to force the shootout.
In the shootout, first shooter Jack Eichel and third shooter Chase De Leo`scored for the United States while Thatcher Demko stopped the last two shots that he saw to give the US a 2-1 victory in the game and the shootout.
The shootout win gives the US two points in pool play, while Finland earns a single point for the extra time loss. The United States will get the day off tomorrow before playing Germany at 8pm local time on Sunday.