Jake Sanderson nabs an assist as the U.S. beats Canada
Former UND center Corban Knight scored a shorthanded goal for the Canadians.
BEIJING — Jake Sanderson arrived in Beijing about the same time his teammates finished off a rout of China in their opener.
In the span of 36 hours, he cleared COVID-19 protocol, got in a practice skate, managed to get some sleep, then was thrust into a big role during USA's 4-2 win over Canada in pool play Friday night.
Sanderson tallied an assist on a Ben Meyers goal and played 16 minutes, 59 seconds as the Americans took control of their group.
Former UND center Corban Knight scored his first Olympic goal — a shorthanded tally in the second period — for the Canadians. But it wasn't enough.
USA can now clinch a bye to the quarterfinals by beating Germany in its final pool play game at 7:10 a.m. Sunday.
"I thought we played a solid game overall," USA coach David Quinn said. "We got out to a 3-1 lead, but when they scored that shorthanded goal, the momentum changed. We got a big goal to make it 4-2 and then killed off that two-man advantage. I told our guys to enjoy this, because they earned it."
USA's goals came from Minnesota's Meyers, former Miami forward Andy Miele, former Yale forward Kenny Agostino and Michigan forward Brendan Brisson.
Goaltender Strauss Mann, who won a Clark Cup with the Fargo Force in the United States Hockey League, stopped 35 of 37 Canadian shots.
Knight and former Alaska Anchorage player Mat Robinson scored for Canada, which concludes pool play against China on Sunday morning.
For the Team USA men, it was their first victory over Canada at the Olympics since the 2010 Vancouver Games. The Canadians ultimately beat the U.S. in overtime to win gold that year.
Sanderson, who captained the U.S. World Junior Championship team this winter, is expected to miss next weekend's road series at Minnesota Duluth. He will return for UND's home series against Western Michigan on Feb. 25-26.
Prior to coming to UND, Sanderson played for the U.S. Under-17 and U.S. Under-18 Team.