Predators 2009 second-round pick Zach Budish
scored one of four power-play goals as the United States cruised to an 8-1 victory over Russia in the first of four exhibition games the countries are playing this week at USA Hockey’s National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y.
The 6-3, 223-pound Budish, who will play at the University of Minnesota for the 2009-10 season, redirected a John Carlson point shot during a five-on-three advantage for his goal. It was his second goal of the camp, and the tally put the U.S. up 3-1 at 11:55 of the first period. It was the second of seven unanswered tallies for the red, white and blue.
Fellow Minnesotan Danny Kristo scored twice, and a pair of New Jersey natives – Carlson (1g-2a) and Kyle Palmieri (1g-2a) – each posted three-point outings to pace the offensive assault on the Russians. Goaltender Mike Lee, a teammate of Nashville prospect Nick Oliver
with the United States League’s Fargo Force, was flawless for the final 57:30 of the contest, and helped stymie all five Russian power-play opportunities.
“We found out a lot about our team tonight,” 2010 U.S. National Junior Team Head Coach Dean Blais told USAHockey.com. “Our offense played with a lot of speed, Mike Lee was spectacular when he was tested in the third, and we were very disciplined.”
Budish’s goal came after a frenetic start to the friendly that saw the teams combine for three goals in a 41-second span starting at the 2:03 mark of the opening frame. Kristo opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the camp with a wrist shot high to the glove side. Russia’s Vladimir Tarasenko responded just 14 seconds later, but the Notre Dame recruit Palmieri put the U.S. up for good with a converted wraparound at the 2:44 mark.
The United States continued its offensive explosion in the second period with four goals by Carlson, Jeremy Morin, Hall-of-Famer Ray Bourque’s son Ryan, and Kristo’s second of the game. 2009 Vancouver first rounder and Minnesota Golden Gopher Jordan Schroeder rounded out the scoring at 18:02 of the third.
Twelve different Team USA skaters registered points in the victory, and Schroeder now leads all players in camp scoring with 10 points (3g-7a) in four games.
The teams square off again Wednesday at 5 p.m. for Game Two of the week, take a break from competition on Thursday, then round out the camp with games on Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (4 p.m.).
In other international hockey news, Team USA’s entry at the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, which features some of the top draft eligible players for next summer, fell to Russia in its first game of the tournament.