Hello hockey fans, today is the last game of the preliminary round of the World Junior Championship and it is probably the biggest game of the tournament for Team USA as they take on their rivals from the North, team Canada.
The first period was very good for Team USA, dominating most of the play up until the very end and ending the period 13-6 in shots. From the start of the game the Americans displayed their speed to their Canadian opponents and took total control. The Americans got a huge momentum swing on the power play even though they did not score a goal. Team USA had control of the period until the end but goaltender Johnathan Gillie made all the necessary stops.
The second period finally opened up the scoring, Team USA took a 1-0 lead off of a shorthanded goal by Riley Barber. Later in the period Team Canada found the equalizer when Nic Petan scored. Canada took control of the rest of the period and ended it with an 11-6 shot advantage and all the possible momentum going into the crucial third period.
As the third period started Team USA found themselves on the power play but could not convert the advantage into a goal, and from that point on it was all Canada. After Team USA was called for two very questionable penalties the Americans found themselves down 3-1 as Connor McDavid and Curtis Lazar scored two quick goals to grab the lead for the Canadians. As the game was winding down Stefan Matteau scored an unusual goal to make it 3-2. However it would not prove to be enough as the Canadians hold on to beat the Americans 3-2.
Team USA will move on to play Team Russia in the quarterfinals of the tournament where they will encounter another Rangers prospect, Pavel Buchnevich. With five assists in the tournament so far, we are excited to finally see our Russian prospect. Because both North American teams are in Group A, NHL Network hasn’t shown much of Group B. Russia is in Group B so there hasn’t been much coverage in the US to this point.
Now this is where I would generally write something about Rangers prospect Brady Skjei, and for first three games in the tournament he was a standout player and Team USA’s number one defenseman. However in today’s game we didn’t see that, we didn’t see much of anything from Brady Skjei and that really worries me. Is he a player who shows up for easy games but disappears in times he is needed the most? I hope not, stay tuned on the site to find out how he progresses.