Well, that certainly wasn’t the way that Team USA drew up the championship game against Canada. In the 4-1 loss, the U.S. got away from its pass-first style and took several undisciplined penalties when trailing. And the thing is, the game really couldn’t have started much better for Team USA. Only 53 seconds into the action, Taylor Lipsett scored on a sharp angle to give Team USA an early lead. Then, before five minutes had ticked off the clock, Team USA had two power play opportunities. However, the U.S. was unable to capitalize with the man advantage and saw Canada tie the game late in the first period. While the score was 1-1, there was little doubt that the U.S. won the first period. They maintained more control and had the better of the scoring opportunities. The same can’t be said for how they played in the final two periods of the tournament.
Unnecessary penalties hurt the team throughout the rest of the game, as Canada tacked on a goal in the second and a pair of tallies in the third period. Twice, Team USA would have gone on the power play late in the game if not for penalties coming after the whistle. The team’s top goal scorer, Nikko Landeros, took a 10-minute misconduct penalty with nine minutes left in the third period that took him out of the game. Granted, the misconduct came after a missed call. One of Canada’s forwards clearly grabbed Landeros’ stick and threw it away from him in the neutral zone. After that, it was all but over for the U.S. They weren’t able to generate any more offense and all the jump of the team was gone.
But that’s the name of the game sometimes. Canada played well and capitalized on the U.S. mistakes. This was only the first tournament of the season for the team, so there’s plenty of time to get things sorted out before the World Championships in Norway in April. Thanks to everyone who’s followed the blog this week. I’ve had a lot of fun with the team and they are a great group of guys. Go USA!