World Juniors: USA holds on against Switzerland, advances to semifinal

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It wasn’t pretty, but the United States was able to sneak by Switzerland on Monday evening to advance to the semifinals of the 2017 World Junior tournament.

They will take on Russia at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Wednesday after it put an end to Denmark’s improbable run with a 4-0 win earlier in the day.

One of the big stories for the United States was Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Jeremy Bracco (pictured above) thanks to his two-point effort that helped build an early 2-0 lead.

Bracco, a second-round pick by the Maple Leafs in 2016, opened the scoring with a goal just eight minutes into the game, and then assisted on Luke Kunin’s (Minnesota Wild) goal two minutes later.

At that point it looked like the United States was going to cruise to the semifinal.

But once the United States built that two-goal lead Switzerland was able to turn things around and ended up carrying the play for much of the game. The Swiss even rallied to tie it thanks to a pair of goals from Nico Hischier.

Hischier will be draft eligible this year and is regarded as one of the top prospects available in the 2017 class. He plays his junior hockey for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL.

Unfortunately for Switzerland they had a bit of a letdown just 18 seconds after Hischier’s tying goal and allowed Jordan Greenway, a second-round draft pick by the Minnesota Wild in 2016, to score what proved to be the game-winning goal.

After that the United States leaned heavily on goaltender Tyler Parsons (Calgary Flames) to hold on for the win. They needed him to be their best player, and he was.

His best save of the game came in the third period when he robbed Hischier right in front of the net with this glove save, preventing him from not only tying the game, but also completing the hat trick.