The USA prospects shone brightly during their 3-2 win over Russia at Air Canada Centre. Dominant in the first two periods, after goals from Clayton Keller and Colin White the Americans, looked set for a big win. KHL player Kirill Urakov had previously tied the game after a slightly fortunate goal during the first. Anaheim Ducks prospect Troy Terry put the USA firmly in control midway through the second period. However, top scorer Kirill Kaprizov tipped in Yegor Rykov’s shot with 2:43 left to make it 3-2.
After struggling early finally in the third period, Russia, at last, came to life. Due to the good form of goalies Tyler Parson and Ilya Samsonov, the score remained tight. With 1:29 left, Russian blue-liner Sergei Zborovski deliberately knocked the net off during a scrimmage. Tage Thompson was unable to convert the resulting penalty shot. As a result, each prospect was playing out of their skin as the clock wound down. Repelling wave after wave of attacks, the USA’s young guns just sneaked it.
Currently, the USA is living up to the hype as the tournament favourite. Although this was a less dominant win, each prospect looked solid and their upcoming game against Canada is a must-see. Here are three star prospects for each nation.
- Clayton Keller: Opened the scoring at 4.14 in the first with a wonderful deak and assisted on White’s goal in the second. Looked lively and full of pace throughout, could be set for another MVP award in 2017. Drafted 7th overall by Arizona this year and currently playing for Boston College, Clayton’s display will be exciting personnel out in the desert.
- Troy Terry: Scored in the third period after knocking in Charlie McAvoy’s rebound. The goal proved to the winner in this tense affair. Voted player of the game, Terry was outstanding. In the opening two periods, the was one of the USA’s most exciting and dominant prospects. Picked by Anaheim and playing at the University of Denver, this forward could be essential to success.
- Tyler Parsons: Made 25 saves in net en route to victory. Parsons impressed during a busy third period where Russia’s attack was relentless. Picked in the second round by Calgary this year, this American goalie is now established as number one. In a game where goalies were vital, Parsons stood out and kept the USA in control and has helped propel them to a 3-0-0 record.
- Ilya Samsonov: After making 34 saves in net, it was Samsonov who kept Russia in the game. Early on, the Americans swarm his goal but the KHL starter kept them at bay. A silver medalist last year, Samsonov’s efforts in this championship have been unable to lift Russia. A Washington Capitals prospect, it will be interesting to see how the Caps develop his future because they have a future star here.
2. Mikhail Sergachev: Announced as the game’s top Russian player. The Windsor Spitfires d-man was a rock at the back. Excellently able to keep the US attacks at bay, Sergachev was the element on the blue line that kept things in order. After making his debut for Montreal this year, the 18-year-old seems destined to hold down a regular spot next year.
3. Kirill Kaprizov: Russia’s main goal scoring threat, Kaprizov was enticing during the thrilling last period. The Minnesota Wild prospect is the tournament’s top scorer, sadly the results haven’t reflected his displays. No doubt Wild management will be licking their lips at the progress of the Russian captain. Only drafted 135th overall in 2015, KHL side Salavat Yulaev Ufa will be anxious to hold onto him next year.