It wasn't the start that Team USA was looking for in their first official matchup at the World Juniors Championship in Sweden today (tonight). After seeing Canada play well against medal contenders Finland (winning 5-2) and Blackhawks prospect Adam Gajan shutting things down for Slovakia against Czechia (6-2 win) it was USA's turn to show the tournament how tough they were going to be.
The first 1/2 of the matchup didn't go the way of a "favorite". After 30 minutes of play it was still 0-0 against an average at best opponent. For the most part, Norway just out worked, hustled, and game planned better than Team USA.
After 2 breakaway stops (one on Blackhawks prospect Frank Nazar) it appeared that the Americans just couldn't break through. It would be, thankfully, just a matter of time (half way through the contest though) before the skill of the USA squad would beat the Norwegian net minder. Gavin Brindley would net two outstanding goals (including one in tight bar down highlight shot) for the favorites and Isaac Howard would deflect in a nice shot-pass to give USA the 4-1 win.
For full highlights please view the video below:
After just a hand full games on the first day and 2 days removed from a thrilling pre-competition matchup between Canada and the USA squad it's easy to get excited for the rest of the tournament. Will it "for sure" be one of the two that takes gold? Can Adam Gajan steal a medal for Slovakia? Will Finland rebound or will host Sweden turn up their efforts to surprise one of the North American power houses?
Stay tuned here to Blackhawk Up for more WJC coverage.