Schremp helps U.S. nip Russia

JIM CRESSMAN, Free Press Sports Reporter

, Last Updated: 6:20 AM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Rob Schremp is trying to play his way into a regular spot with the U.S. juniors. But while he bides his time as the 13th forward with the defending gold-medallists, he played his way into the hearts of the American fans at the Ralph Engelstad Arena last night with his second-period highlight-reel goal.

Schremp's effort -- the likes of which London Knights fans have seen on 26 occasions this OHL season -- helped the U.S. to a 5-4 victory over Russia.

Dan Fritsche of the Sarnia Sting, top scorer for the U.S. at last year's championship, scored twice. His second was the winner, coming short-handed off a breakaway in the second period.

It was a spirited contest -- as it always is any time the United States and Russia hook up in an sporting event -- and featured all sorts of gamesmanship.

Russian Sergei Shirokov held his glove to his ear in a mock gesture of listening for the crowd's cheers after scoring on a first-period penalty shot.

The fans had been chanting "U-S-A, U-S-A" as he skated in to take his shot.

Fritsche made Shirokov regret his actions with the first of his two goals just 18 seconds later.

Fritsche showed no ill-effects of strained shoulder ligaments that saw him miss time with the Sting recently.

The game was also very physical and it required a firm hand from Canadian Chris Savage of the Western Hockey League to keep things in check.

Alexander Ovechkin, the first player chosen in this past summer's NHL entry draft (by the Washington Capitals) scored one of Russia's three first-period goals on U.S. goalie Al Montoya.

Montoya, the star of last year's tournament at age 18, wasn't particularly sharp in the opening 20 minutes but slammed the door in the third.

But it still begged the question: What is it about goalies who have a great world junior as an 18-year-old, but can't repeat as a 19-year-old?

That happened to Canada's Marc-Andre Fleury -- a star in Halifax at 18, but a so-so showing last year as a 19-year-old.

Montoya attends the University of Michigan and is a New York Rangers draft pick.

Czech Republic 7, Belarus 2

At Thief River Falls, Minn., Petr Vrana and Rostislav Olesz each scored twice to pace the Czechs.

Both of Olesz's goals came in the third period, when the Czechs turned a close game into a laugher.

Vrana scored an even-strength goal in the first period, then added a power-play goal in the third.

Michael Frolik, Michal Kvapil and Petr Petruzalek also scored for the Czech Republic.

Alexey Ugarov and Pavel Asmalouski replied for Belarus. Marek Schwarz stopped 15 shots for the Czechs while Stepan Goryachevskikh made 29 saves.

U.S. 5 RUSSIA 4


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