GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Team USA was denied a spot on the podium at the 2005 IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championship as it was beaten 3-2 in overtime by the Czech Republic on Tuesday (Jan. 4) at Ralph Engelstad Arena. The University of Michigan's Al Montoya (Glenview, Ill.) made 34 saves for the U.S. but he could not stop Petr Vrana's shot at 2:38 of overtime. Kevin Porter (Northville, Mich.) had a power-play goal and T.J. Hensick (Howell, Mich.) and Matt Hunwick (Sterling Heights, Mich.) each recorded an assist.
The Czechs got on the scoreboard first at 3:26. While on the power play, Michal Polak had multiple whacks at a rebound to the right of the net until he chipped the puck up into the U.S. goal.
The Americans responded with a marker on the man-advantage at 16:16. The all-Michigan goal was scored by Porter with assists going to Hensick and Hunwick. Hensick carried the puck across the Czech zone and hit Porter with a pass in the lower right circle. Porter deked twice and wrapped the puck around the goalie into the far side of the net.
Montoya made 15 saves in the first period as the Czech Republic outshot the U.S. 16-9 in the first frame.
At 6:03 of the second period the Czechs retook the lead at 2-1. Michael Frolik walked in alone from the left side and faked outside before pulling the puck back to the middle and sliding it in between Montoya's legs.
Drew Stafford (North Dakota) brought the game back to a 2-2 tie with a great power-play goal at 13:12. Ryan Suter (Wisconsin) and Patrick O'Sullivan (Mississauga IceDogs) made two quick, cross-ice passes through the Czech zone before Stafford one-timed the shot into the upper part of the net.
The third period was scoreless, sending the game into overtime. Montoya had 31 saves in regulation. The Czech Republic had the lone power play in the final stanza.
The Americans had a wonderful chance to end the game just two minutes into overtime during a scrum in front of the Czech netminder Marek Schwarz. Following a faceoff, Jake Dowell (Wisconsin) came away with the puck in the right slot and had an open net to shoot at while on his backhand. A Czech defender dove into the crease as Dowell took the shot and blocked it with his left forearm along the ice.
Shortly after the U.S. chance the Czechs capitalized on their opportunity and earned the bronze medal at 2:38 of overtime. Vrana beat defenseman Jeff Likens (Wisconsin) to a loose puck in the neutral zone and quickly eluded him to have a clean shot at Montoya from center ice. With Likens attempting to hook him from behind, Vrana managed to keep the puck out of reach and get just enough of it in the slot to push it under Montoya's right leg.
Team USA finishes the 2005 IIHF World Junior Championship in fourth place and with a 3-4-0 overall record.