Langley, British Columbia:
Saginaw Spirit forward Cole Coskey and the 2019 team USA national junior team cruised to its second straight win with a decisive 6-2 victory over the Czech Republic national junior team in the final pre tournament exhibition game at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, BC in the run-up to the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation U20 World Junior Championship's which are set to begin on Boxing Day (Dec. 26) in Victoria and Vancouver, BC and lasting until the championship game on Jan. 5, 2019 ten days later.
Coskey, who played a significant role as a physically punishing power forward in tonight's win, as well as in team USA's 3-2 victory over Russia at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, BC on Thursday night, is one of 28 fellow American-born hockey players selected to the preliminary 29-man roster back on Dec 5, while Coskey will now have to wait and hear if he'll remain with the team when the official 23-man roster is named on Dec 23, at some time during the day on Sunday.
Team USA dominated the early action, out-shooting the Czech's 20-2 in the first frame with Boston College standout Oliver Wahlstrom (a first round pick of the New York Islanders, 11th overall, in the 2018 NHL draft) scoring a pair of goals; the first on a feed from UofM defenseman Quinn Hughes (a first round pick of the Vancouver Canucks, 7th overall, in the 2018 NHL draft) for a 1-0 lead, then Wahlstrom struck again with his second goal of the night from Hughes again with an additional assist coming from Hughes' younger brother Jack Hughes (the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL draft who plays with the USNTDP u18 team) for a 2-0 lead, before Yale University defenseman Phil Kemp (a seventh round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in the 2017 NHL draft) scored with an assist from Ottawa 67's forward Sasha Chmelevski (a sixth round pick of the San Jose Sharks in the 2017 NHL draft) giving team USA a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Czech Republic managed to cut into the U.S. lead early in the middle frame when Jakub Lauko (a third round pick of the Boston Bruins in the 2018 NHL draft) scored to make it a 3-1 game at 9:27 of the second period, but UofM forward Josh Norris (a first round pick of the San Jose Sharks, 19th overall, in the 2017 NHL draft) answered with a goal for a 5-1 U.S. lead just over 5-minutes later with assists coming from St. Cloud State forward Ryan Poehling (a first round pick of the Montreal Canadians, 25th overall, in the 2017 NHL draft) and Niagara Ice Dogs forward Jason Robertson (a second round pick of the Dallas Stars in the 2017 NHL draft) before Chmelevski followed with a goal in the final minute of the period with assists from Boston University forward Josh Farabee (a first round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, 14th overall, in the 2018 NHL draft) and Oshawa Generals goal tender Kyle Keyser for a 5-1 team USA lead after two periods of play.
Saginaw Spirit 2017 first round CHL Import draft pick Martin Necas (a first round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, 12th overall, in the 2017 NHL draft) scored a power play goal for the Czech's with a nice wrist shot from the high slot, cutting the USA lead to 5-2 at 12:34 of the third period, but University of Wisconsin defenseman Ty Emberson (a third round pick of the Arizona Coyotes in the 2018 NHL draft) would wrap up the scoring for team USA with a shorthanded goal on a feed from Norris to give the U.S. a 6-2 lead at 16:36 of the final period.
Keyser stopped 19 of the 21 shots he faced in between the pipes for team USA tonight.
Team USA GM John Vanbiesbrouck and head coach Mike Hastings now have the unenviable task of trimming the final roster down to 23 players tomorrow, before preparing the U.S. squad for the opening game of the 2019 IIHF U20 WJC against Slovakia with face off set for 3:30 pm (PST) at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, BC Wednesday afternoon.
Video highlights of team USA's 3-2 victory over Russia in Kamloops, BC Thursday: