December 27, 1998
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (12/26/98) - The United States opened play at the
World Junior Hockey Championship with a 6-3 loss Saturday night to
defending champion Finland, in front of 7,609 fans at the Winnipeg
Notre Dame sophomore left wing Dan Carlson (Edina, Minn.) did not
factor into any of the USA scoring. Carlson, who skated on the second
forward line during the pre-tournament scrimmages versus Sweden
(information unavailable for Saturday's game), is the third Irish
forward to play for the USA junior national team during the past three
years. Current Notre Dame juniors Ben Simon and Joe Dusbabek skated on
last year's USA fifth-place team while Simon was a member of the 1997-98
In other opening-day action of the 10-team tournament that is being
held in six Manitoba cities, Sweden preceded Finland's win with a 4-2
victory over Russia, Switzerland rallied to beat Belarus 4-3 in Selkirk
and Slovakia upset the Czech Republic 3-2 in Brandon.
Host country Canada and Kazahkstan were idle on Saturday, with Canada
set to face Slovakia on Sunday in Brandon while Kazahkstan and Belarus
will meet Sunday night in Portage.
The USA will return to action on Monday in Brandon vs. the Czech
Republic, with Monday's other games to include: Switzerland-Sweden (3:00
p.m. Winnipeg), Canada-Finland (8:00 p.m., Winnipeg) and
Russia-Kazakhstan (8:00 p.m., Portage).
The USA's other remaining games in the two-division, round-robin format
include Dec. 30 vs. Slovakia (8:00 p.m., Selkirk) and Dec. 31 vs. Canada
(6:00 p.m., Winnipeg). The playoff and medal rounds then will follow
from Jan. 2-5.
The New Year's Eve matchup between the USA and Canada will be televised
across America, including live 6:00 p.m. eastern time broadcasts by
Comcast and Fox Sports New England. Tape-delayed broadcasts of the
USA-Canada game will include: Midwest Sports Channel on Jan. 1 at 7:00
p.m. central time; Fox Sports Detroit on Jan. 2 at 4:00 p.m. eastern;
and Empire Sports Network on Jan. 7 at 7:00 p.m. eastern.
Six different players scored Saturday for Finland, who looked in
trouble when the U.S. closed to 4-3 by the end of the second period. The
Finnish goalscorers included Eero Somervuori, Ilkka Mikkola, Olli
Ahonen, Jani Rita, Tommi Santala and Teemu Elomo.
Boston College sophomore right wing Brian Gionta scored two goals for
Team USA, including a goal at the 10:57 mark of the first period to
forge a 1-1 tie. Finland then scored three straight times to take a 4-1
lead before goals by Tim Connolly and Gionta cut the margin to 4-3.
Finland goaltender Mika Noronen made 26 saves while the USA's Chris
stopped 27 of 33 shots.
The tournament's organizers announced on Saturday that Manitoba has set
a record for most tickets sold (147,852 as of Dec. 26) at any World
Junior Hockey Championship, since the tournament began in 1977. The
previous record of 146,852 was set in 1985-86 by the organizing
committee in Hamilton, Ontario. A total of 19,070 spectators watched the
opening day of this year's tournament, which included four games in