Men’s Hockey: Harper, Keller Lead Americans to Victory over Latvia

By: Dan Shulman

Five Boston University Terriers suited up on Monday for the United States in the opening game of the World Junior Championship in Toronto, helping the Americans knock-off Team Latvia, 6-1.

Patrick Harper got the scoring started early for the U.S., slotting a shot past Latvian goaltender Egils Mitens to put his team up, 1-0. Latvia powered their way back, equalizing within ten minutes via a Renars Krastenbergs’ goal, beating U.S. goalie Tyler Parsons.

Parsons got the nod in net Monday with Boston College goalie Joseph Woll as the backup. Terriers’ goalie Jake Oettinger was the lone scratch for Team USA.

The Americans scored twice in the second period, with both goals coming from the top forward line. BC forward Colin White gave the U.S. the lead 6:29 into the second period. Tage Thompson (UConn) and Adam Fox (Harvard) got the assists on White’s goal.

Clayton Keller got involved with the scoring late in the frame, cleaning up the garbage in front of the net to put the U.S. ahead by two. Thompson and White collected assists on Keller’s first of the evening.

This summer’s seventh-overall pick in the NHL Draft got on the board again midway through the third period. Keller stole the puck off a Latvian defender in the high-slot and rifled a shot past Mitens for a quick strike out of a broken play.

Tyler Parsons preserved the three goal lead with his tenth save of the game. With 3:45 to play in the third, Parsons made a cross-crease blocker save on Erlends Klavins to hold Latvia to just one goal on the night.

The U.S. scored two more on the night. Jeremy Bracco received a feeder pass from Troy Terry down low and deposited a power play goal for the American’s fifth of the night. Bracco played in five games for Boston College last season before opting to play junior hockey with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL.

The final goal of the night was scored by BU forward Jordan Greenway. The sophomore, who was voted Team USA’s player of the game, picked up a rebound in the slot and found the twine past Mitens for the sixth goal of the night. Greenway gave Latvia fits all night long in the net-front.

The Americans limited Latvia’s offense all night long while bringing an overwhelming attacking presence of their own.

Team USA’s next action will be Wednesday against Slovakia at 7:30 p.m.

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