Third-period lead slips away for USA hockey at Youth Olympics

Jan. 29—GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The United States men's team at the 2024 Youth Olympic Winter Games found itself in a shootout for the second time in as many games, but this one didn't go as well, as Czechia prevailed after five rounds to win their game 6-5 and with it their three-team preliminary group on Monday, Jan. 29.

The Americans knew they would advance to the semifinals regardless of the result on Monday at the Gangneung Ice Center after Czechia defeated rival Slovakia in regulation on Sunday. But the U.S. will still rue a missed opportunity to win the group after they led 4-1 and 5-3 at different points.

The Northland participants on Team USA, A.J. Francisco (Hermantown) and Jackson Marthaler (Superior), made their presence known early, both assisting on the game's opening goal, scored by Abe Barnett 5:48 in.

The Americans led 3-1 after two periods and 5-3 after two but fell victim to a pair of goals from the Czechs' Philip Novak in the third period that tied the game, the first coming shorthanded after Novak beat Francisco to a blocked American shot that bounced into the neutral zone, leading to a breakaway.

The teams went straight to a shootout. As he did on Saturday in the first U.S. game, Francisco shot in the third position but his attempt was poke-checked away by Czech goaltender Jan Larys.

Vaclav Nedorost decided the outcome in the fifth round when his shot was successful, and the USA's Zane Torre was denied.

The United States will play on Tuesday against the winner of a Canada-Finland game planned for later Monday. The game, which can be found on the

Gangwon 2024 Youth Olympic website

(registration required), will take place at either 11 p.m. Duluth time on Monday or 5 a.m. on Tuesday with a potential bronze- or gold-medal game to follow the next day.