HELSINKI (AP) — Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist to lead the United States to a 4-1 victory over Denmark on Thursday in the world junior hockey championship.
Matthews tied it at 1 in the first period, and Sonny Milano put the U.S. ahead in the second period. Matthews assisted on Colin White’s third-period goal, and Anders Bjork added a power-play goal.
“We had a slow start, but we came together in the middle of the game and capitalized on some chances,” said Matthews, expected to be the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft.
“It’s not about your draft stock or about how many points you have. It’s about the team and it’s about winning the gold medal. That’s what we came here to do.”
The Americans finished second in Group A at 3-1-0. They’ll face the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.
“We played well in all the games,” U.S. coach Ron Wilson said. “We finished second and that’s a feather in our cap. Now we’ve got to prepare for the next game.”
Matthews plays for ZSC Lions Zurich in Switzerland, Milano for Columbus affiliate Lake Erie in the American Hockey League, White for Boston College, and Bjork for Notre Dame.
Brandon Halverson made 16 saves for the U.S. He plays for Sault Ste. Marie in the Ontario Hockey League.
Mathias Lassen scored for Denmark, set to play Group B winner Russia in the quarterfinals.
Sweden beat Canada 5-2 and won Group A at 4-0-0. Sweden will play Slovakia in the quarterfinals, and Canada will face Finland. Alexander Nylander and Gustav Forsling each had a goal and an assist for Sweden.
In Group B, Finland beat the Czech Republic 5-4, and Russia topped Slovakia 2-1 to finish 4-0-0.
Tournament scoring leader Jesse Puljujarvi scored twice for Finland. Artur Lauta and Yegor Rykov scored for Russia.