With six points in as many games at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships, Team USA forward Troy Terry has a nose for goals.
He’s been described as a strong skater. A solid stick-handler. A sound bottom-six forward.
But after his performance in Wednesday’s game against Russia, the University of Denver sophomore can tack slump-buster onto his growing list of taglines.
Given the nod three separate times by head coach Bob Motzko, Terry converted each of his shootout attempts in the United States’ 4-3 overtime victory, propelling his team to the gold medal match for the first time since 2013. It was the team’s first playoff victory over Russia in World Junior history.
“He has great skill, great hands,” defenseman Charlie McAvoy said of Terry in a release. “He’s got ice in his veins, and he proved that tonight.”
And the fourth-line forward did it in historic fashion.
One of two American forwards to beat Russian goaltender Ilya Samsonov in the shootout, Terry’s skill competition hat trick was the first since 2007, when Canada’s Jonathan Toews accomplished the feat.
“I’ve never been a part of something like this,” forward Clayton Keller said in a release. “It’s crazy. It’s unbelievable to get the win and go for the gold medal tomorrow.”
Keller, the United States’ leading scorer, played a large part in securing that opportunity.
Registering two points on the night, Keller assisted on both of Colin White’s goals. He also nearly iced the game in regulation — after being hauled down from behind by Russian rearguard Sergei Zborovski, the Boston University centreman failed to convert the ensuing penalty shot. His backhand effort was gloved by Samsonov, and the Russians went on to equalize less than a minute later.
In the American net, CHL product Tyler Parsons held his own, making several timely saves and turning aside 33 shots.
However, the Americans won’t have much time to celebrate. Slated for an 8:00 pm puck drop at the Bell Centre, Team USA go for gold against the hometown Canadians tomorrow night.