LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - Following a shutout loss to Sweden on Wednesday, U.S. National Junior Team head coach Don Lucia was looking for an offensive spark and he found it in the third period from multiple sources.
It was Adam Erne who had a goal and an assist in regulation and scored twice more in the shootout to clinch a 4-3 win over Finland, but several other players helped breathe life into the American attack.
Down 3-1 in the third period, the U.S. capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play. Just 33 seconds into the advantage, Mike Brodzinski scored on a wrist shot from the slot as he slid through traffic. Then, while still on the power play, the Americans found the net again on Erne's goal from Connor Carrick and Will Butcher.
"We just needed anybody to step up tonight from an offensive standpoint," Lucia said, adding that the goals coming on the power play were especially encouraging. "It's the first time this week we've been a plus on the specialty teams and you have to have that."
The end result doesn't factor in to the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship standings, but don't tell that to the teams here in Lake Placid. Team USA and Finland battled hard for 65 minutes before putting on a seven-round show in the shootout.
The teams traded attempts for five rounds but goaltenders Joonas Korpisalo and Anthony Stolarz held strong. Stolarz had two poke checks that drew cheers from the fans. The crowd on hand in the Olympic Center 1980 Rink erupted in cheers when Team USA clinched the victory.
"Stolarz played very well. Obviously he was very good in the shootout," Lucia said.
Stolarz said winning in a shootout was fun, but added he was happy for a victory in any fashion.
"It gives us a lot of momentum and in the shootout it was just one on one against the goalie and I just hoped they'd shoot it in my chest every time and then we'd go down and put one in the net," he said.
Lucia asked his bench who wanted to take the ice for the shootout attempts and Erne was ready to answer the call.
"He said who wants to go and no one said anything so I said, 'I'll go,'" Erne said. "It was nice to win one ... the team starts now so we're just trying to come together."
Fans watching the U.S. practice on Thursday morning saw many of the top players on the roster skate since they were not playing in the game against Finland. They were suprised to see a new face on the ice next to players like Riley Barber and Stefan Matteau.
U.S. Women's Olympian Meghan Duggan, in Lake Placid as an instructor for a girls hockey camp, joined the mens' team for practice. She participated in all drills and even scored a top-corner goal on John Gillies that drew some stick taps and respect from her male counterparts.