A.J. Francisco of Hermantown was one of the shootout scorers.
By Staff reports
Today at 4:18 PM
GANGWON, South Korea — The United States pulled themselves out of big trouble on Saturday, Jan. 27, rallying to force overtime, then defeat Slovakia 5-4 in a shootout in their first of two preliminary games of the boys hockey tournament at the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
The Americans found themselves down 4-2 with seven minutes to play before Cole Bumgarner (St. Michael-Albertville) scored with 8:03 to play to make it a one goal game. Superior’s Jackson Marthaler earned a secondary assist on the play.
Team USA pulled its goaltender with 1:23 to play and generated an extra-attacker goal from Zane Torre, his second score of the game, with :54 to play.
The teams went directly to a three-round shootout, where Hermantown’s A.J. Francisco buried his attempt to confirm his team’s 2-0 victory in the third round.
Francisco had a primary assist on a USA goal from J.P. Hurlbert early in the second period to make it 2-1 before the Slovaks scored three in a row to end the period.
Team USA will face Czechia in their second and final preliminary game at 2 p.m. Korea time (11 p.m. Monday in Duluth), with the semifinals of the six-team tournament on Tuesday and medal matches on Wednesday.