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WJC: Local Product Saad Scores Lone USA Goal in 4-1 Loss to Finland

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

Gibsonia native Brandon Saad scored Team USA’s lone goal in their 4-1 setback to Finland on Wednesday in their second game of the World Junior Championship’s opening round.

Whitehall native John Gibson made his tournament debut between the pipes for Team USA, making 23 saves in the defeat.

The Americans are now 1-1 in the tournament after thrashing Denmark, 11-3, on Monday. Team USA has a heavy Pittsburgh influence, as four players from the Pittsburgh Hornets program – Saad, Gibson, J.T. Miller (Coraopolis/E. Palestine, OH) and Stephen Johns (Wampum) – are all part of the roster.

Pittsburgh Penguins 2011 draft pick Josh Archibald also played for the U.S. He was held pointless after recording an assist on Monday.

RELATED: Locals Help Team USA Win, 11-3 >>

After a scoreless first period, it would be Finland’s Miikka Salomaki who would get his team on the board first when he tallied just 1:21 into the middle frame. And despite the Americans’ best efforts – throwing 16 pucks to the net in that period – they couldn’t solve Finnish goaltender Sami Aittokallio through the first 40 minutes.

But Saad changed all of that just 19 seconds into the third when he knotted the score 1-1 for his first goal of the tournament. On the play, U.S. center Charlie Coyle won the offensive zone faceoff to right wing Emerson Etem as Saad headed for the front of the net.

Etem dished a cross-ice pass to Saad, who sent a perfect backhand tip into the open net.

“It was a nice goal, but unfortunately we fell short,” Saad told the NHL Network’s Craig Simpson.

However, from there on it was all Finland as they scored three unanswered goals on 18 shots in the third period to take home the victory.

Next up for the Americans will be another Pittsburgh Penguins 2011 draft pick, Dominik Uher, and the Czech Republic on Friday at 3:30 p.m. That game as well as Saturday’s contest against Canada at 8 p.m. will be broadcast live on the NHL Network.

CANADA TOPS CZECH REPUBLIC: Penguins prospect Scott Harrington and Team Canada dropped fellow prospect Dominik Uher and the Czech Republic by a score of 5-0 on Wednesday.

The win improves Canada to 2-0 and gives them six points, putting them in first place in Group B. The U.S., Czech Republic and Finland are all 1-1 with three points while Denmark is in last place with an 0-2 record.

2012 IIHF World Junior Championship - NHL Network-U.S. Broadcast Schedule
Dec. 26 - Jan. 5

Date Game Time (EST)
Mon., Dec. 26 Canada vs. Finland 3:30 p.m.
  USA vs. Denmark 8 p.m.
Tues., Dec. 27 Denmark vs. Czech Republic 8 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 28 Finland vs. USA 3:30 p.m.
  Czech Republic vs. Canada 8 p.m.
Thurs., Dec. 29 Canada vs. Denmark 8 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 30 Czech Republic vs. USA 3:30 p.m.
  Finland vs. Denmark 8 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 31 USA vs. Canada 8 p.m.
Mon., Jan. 2 Quarterfinal #1 5:00 p.m.
  Quarterfinal #2 9:00 p.m.
Tue., Jan. 3 Semifinal #1 5:00 p.m.
  Semifinal #2* 9:00 p.m.
Thur., Jan. 5 Bronze-Medal Game 3:30 p.m.
  Gold-Medal Game 8:00 p.m.
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