Archive for the 'US Hockey' Category

The Takeaway: U.S. Dominates Canada, Advances to Gold Medal Game

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

It’s safe to say no one expected Thursday’s semifinal to play out like that. Team USA dominated Canada in every facet and advanced to the World Junior Championship gold medal game with a commanding 5-1 victory. It was the most lopsided win by the U.S. against Canada in WJC play since a 7-3 triumph in 1981.

Team captain Jake McCabe scored the game’s first two goals and assisted on the third. Johnny Gaudreau also tallied two goals and an assist, giving him seven goals and two assists in the last three games. Jimmy Vesey scored his first goal of the tournament and also had an assist, while J.T. Miller registered two assists. John Gibson stopped 33 of 34 shots to raise his save percentage for the tournament to an incredible .954 mark.

The Americans will play the winner of Thursday’s Sweden-Russia game at 8 a.m. ET on Saturday. Canada will play the loser in the bronze medal game at 4 a.m. ET.


The Takeaway: Gaudreau’s Hat Trick Leads U.S. Into Semis

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Johnny Gaudreau registered a hat trick and Riley Barber scored twice as Team USA cruised to a 7-0 win over the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals of the World Junior Championship. The U.S. led just 1-0 after one, but five second-period goals put the game out of reach. J.T. Miller notched a goal and two assists, while Jacob Trouba and Seth Jones each tallied four assists. John Gibson made 31 saves in the shutout. The U.S. will meet Canada at 4 a.m. ET on Thursday in the semifinals.

What I saw
-After not registering a single point in Team USA’s first three games, Gaudreau now has five goals and an assist in the last two games. All three of his goals on Wednesday came from him just getting open around the net. The first two came on broken plays — the first a deflected Trouba pass, the second a blocked Jake McCabe shot — that ended with the puck bouncing right to him on the doorstep. The third came on a great feed by Miller, as the center waited for a passing lane to open up before finding Gaudreau in front. Gaudreau has gotten hot at the right time, and the U.S. would love for him to keep it going on Thursday.


The Takeaway: U.S. Dominates Slovakia, Advances to Quarterfinals

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Team USA advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Junior Championship with a resounding 9-3 win over Slovakia on Monday. Johnny Gaudreau and Vince Trocheck scored two goals apiece, while Jimmy Vesey contributed three assists. Alex Galchenyuk, J.T. Miller and Jake McCabe all had multipoint games as well. Slovakia tied the game at 1-1 just 14 seconds after Cole Bardreau opened the scoring, but the U.S. scored the next four goals to take control of the game. Jacob Trouba scored his fourth goal of the tournament, while Mike Reilly scored his first. John Gibson made 26 saves in the win.

What I saw
-Gaudreau and Trocheck got off the schneid in a big way. They were expected to be two of Team USA’s top scorers before the tournament, but neither of them had a single point entering Monday’s game. They each posted three points against Slovakia and looked dangerous in the offensive zone all game. Both were able to make plays down low and find open space around the net. Gaudreau and Trocheck, who aren’t on the same line 5-on-5, hooked up for two power-play goals. Trocheck picked up the second assist on a highlight-reel goal by Gaudreau, then Gaudreau made a nice pass from below the goal line to find Trocheck in the slot.


The Takeaway: U.S. Falls to Canada; Offensive Woes Continue

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

For the second straight game, Team USA struggled to finish around the net and wound up with a 2-1 loss, this time to archrival Canada. Canada took a 1-0 lead 7:13 into the game when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins found some open space off a faceoff and beat John Gibson from the high slot. The Canadians added to the lead seven minutes later when Brett Ritchie wrapped around the net before finding Ryan Strome alone in front.

The U.S. cut the lead in half with 8:58 left in the game when Alex Galchenyuk fed Jacob Trouba for Trouba’s third goal of the tournament. The Americans stymied their own comeback by taking four penalties in the next five minutes, but they killed all of them and managed to earn a power play of their own with 1:37 to go. They generated several good looks, but couldn’t net the equalizer.


The Takeaway: Makarov Stops 41 As Russia Tops U.S.

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Despite putting 42 shots on net, Team USA fell to Russia, 2-1, in its second game of the World Junior Championship. Vladimir Tkachyov scored what proved to be the game-winner 4:10 into the third when he banged home a rebound right in front. Valeri Nichushkin set up the goal with a great rush down the right wing to get by Seth Jones and get the puck to the net. Andrei Makarov made 41 saves for the Russians, while John Gibson turned aside 28 shots for the Americans.

The U.S. had a strong first couple shifts, but it was Russia that opened the scoring when Albert Yarullin unloaded a one-timer that ricocheted off a couple bodies and past Gibson for a power-play goal. The U.S. tied it with 6:42 remaining in the second when Jacob Trouba scored a power-play goal of his own, ripping a one-timer through traffic from center point for his second goal in as many games.


The Takeaway: U.S. Beats Germany 8-0 to Open Group Play

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

American fans couldn’t have asked for a better start to the World Junior Championship, as Team USA steamrolled Germany 8-0 to open group play. It took the U.S. just 19 seconds to get on the board. Alex Galchenyuk chipped a puck to Riley Barber in the neutral zone, Barber sent Sean Kuraly in alone, and Kuraly finished with a backhander through Marvin Cupper’s five-hole. The U.S. made it 2-0 eight minutes later when Blake Pietila picked a defender’s pocket and fed Jacob Trouba for a point shot through traffic.

The Galchenyuk-Kuraly-Barber line struck again 1:24 after that when Galchenyuk circled off the boards and beat Cupper with a beautiful shot into the top right corner. That line did it again 14 seconds into the second period when Galchenyuk forced a turnover and found Barber alone in front. From there, the rout was on. Shayne Gostisbehere made it 5-0 with a one-timer on the power play, and Ryan Hartman pushed it to 6-0 when he buried a Pietila rebound. J.T. Miller scored the seventh goal off a turnover and Seth Jones scored the eighth with a nice shot from the high slot. John Gibson made 19 saves and Jon Gillies made seven in the combined shutout.


Olympics! Links

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Boy, the Olympic hockey has been great, and it’s not breaking news to say that here. You can read all about it on other sites that are more devoted to this subject — although clearly we have a vested interest in following it here because of all the former college players on Team USA, just like the World Juniors.

But in the mean time, check out this link at BroncoHockey, which is simply linking out to somewhere else, talking about Mike Milbury’s dumb comments from last night’s Canada-Russia game. Not that dumb comments from Milbury is anything new (he’s an embarrassment to the U.S. and Colgate University), but this took the cake.

Russia did not show much heart last night, that’s for sure. But Milbury’s well-worn, tired, anti-Russia bias came shining through. Any wonder why he stunk as a general manager?

The you can check out our story on whether college players will be returning to the Olympics in 2014.

Team USA Finds Their Way — NHL FanHouse

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Bruce Ciskie’s take on the US winning gold at the World Juniors….

via Team USA Finds Their Way — NHL FanHouse.

U.S. Olympic Roster Lacks Scoring Sizzle

Monday, January 4th, 2010
Former North Dakota forward Zach Parise is a legit scoring presence for Team USA in the Olympics.

Former North Dakota forward Zach Parise is a legit scoring presence for Team USA in the Olympics.

Watching the announcement of the U.S. Olympic roster was somewhat depressing. Juxtaposed against the national holiday which was the Canadian roster announcement — not to mention the talented Swedish and Russian rosters — it was clear the U.S. has very little chance for Olympic gold.

It’s one reason why we’re all fired up around here for Tuesday’s World Junior gold medal game against Canada; it may be the U.S.’s one chance this year for gold.

The 1980 Olympics was, of course, a watershed moment for U.S. hockey. The success of that Olympic team led directly to the 1996 World Cup team, where the best Americans in the world defeated the best Canadians in the World on a big stage for the first time, in a best-of-three series no less, and on Canadian soil.

And most of that roster came directly from the college ranks — Guerin, Tkachuk, Weight, Rolston, Amonte, Richter, Chelios, Leetch, Hull — aided by the likes of Pat Lafontaine, Jeremy Roenick and Mike Modano. These are superstars — numerous Hall of Famers — direct descendents of the 1980 squad.

Where are those names now?

As an American hockey fan, and, in particular, a college hockey fan, there is great pride in the 2010 Olympic roster. The vast majority of names are straight out of the U.S. college ranks, including all seven defensemen and all three goaltenders. And I happen to think that the U.S. seven defensemen will develop into better players, top to bottom, than Canada’s seven. And an eighth, former Hobey winner Matt Carle, could make a case for being there as well.

The problem is, there are no stars up front. There is no Tkachuk, there is no Guerin. And there is certainly no Ovechkin, Malkin or Crosby. Or Alfredsson or Zetterberg.

The 1996 team was loaded, and it also rose to prominence at a time when Gretzky and Lemieux weren’t there.

In fairness, many of the 1996 players — like Amonte, etc… — did not develop into stars until years after they were in the NHL. So this roster has the potential to come up with guys who develop that way. And Zach Parise is there already.

But it’s clear there is a dearth of those players in the NHL right now.

It looks like Brian Burke was trying to create a roster to gain experience for 2014 rather than give Team USA the best chance to win in 2010. I would’ve put a Modano or Guerin on there, just for the experience and leadership factor. Chris Drury is not enough in that regard.

On the other hand, if he’s going to go the way he did, I think Burke needed to have some more power forward types on there. There aren’t enough of them. Guys like Kyle Okposo and James van Riemsdyk, who I’ve seen play a lot this year, and have been quality workhorses.

It’s interesting the U.S. finds itself in this position, because it comes at a time when there are more quality former NCAA players in the NHL right now than ever before. And it comes at a time when the Under-18 and Under-20 (World Junior) teams for the U.S. do very well in international tournaments every year.

They just lack the superstar skill forwards — the extra one player or so in every Under-20 crop that adds up to five or six of those players over a 15-year span. Eric Staal, Rick Nash, Sidney Crosby, Jarome Iginla and so on.

I couldn’t tell you how to close that gap, but we’ve got a ways to go.