The U.S. National Junior Team wraps up group play with a New Year’s Eve game against arch rival Canada. Watch live on NHL Network U.S. and on NHL.com and follow the live game blog.
No sugar coating can make it easier for Team USA to swallow the bitter pill that they are knocked out of medal contention after a 5-2 loss to Czech Republic on Friday afternoon.
Still, as I write this the sun is coming up on a new day in Alberta. The medals are gone, but Team USA still has pride on the line against arch rival Canada tonight.
We’ll be back later with comments from coaches and players about tonight’s game and then, of course, full game coverage.
Team USA takes on Czech Republic today at 3:30 p.m. EST in a game between squads tied at three points each. Later today, Finland, which also has three points, faces Denmark. Hockey fans will be treated to some great hockey the next two days as Team USA, Czech Republic and Finland fight to join Canada atop the group.
The U.S. would be wise to remember two things heading into this afternoon’s matchup.
- This tournament hasn’t even started yet for all intents and purposes. Rare is the team that wins wire to wire and a single preliminary round loss does not spell doom. The key is to forget the loss to Finland and move on, which it seems the team has done. In practice yesterday and around the hotel this morning it’s been business as usual albeit with a little more intensity in the players’ faces.
- Stay the course. A little more traffic in front of the Finland net and Team USA could have broken that game open. They held a decided shot advantage, although most of the chances came from the outside. In practice on Thursday, Blais had the guys working 5-on-0 except with sticks laid down in passing lanes across the zone, which forced players to move their feet and find open lanes through traffic. Look for someone in a U.S. jersey to park themselves in front of a very talented Czech goaltender today.
Follow the live game blog on USAHockey.com here
Today Team USA practiced and regrouped after the loss to Finland. We spoke to defenseman Jacob Trouba about his impressive start to the tournament. Check out the feature here
Team USA’s practice drew a crowd today and for the first time this tournament the Americans had a cheering section. A Peewee team from Alaska on a trip through Canada stopped by to watch practice and snag some autographs. They’ll cheer on Team USA loudly from the stands on Friday during the Czech Republic game.