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USA Fall to Canada in nailbiter

How many ways can I tell you that the Matteau-Copp-Fasching line started the game for the Americans? I guess if Don Lucia continues in this vein, we’ll find out. It was a vicious game from the beginning – guys were hitting the ice left and right as the teams kept taking play from one end of the ice to the other. The game’s first chance came for the USA from Jack Eichel, but he was denied by Fucale. Not long after, Bo Horvat got tangled with Nic Kerdiles, and the US went to the power play. Fucale absolutely robbed US captain Riley Barber on a terrific chance, and right after the penalty was killed off Jonathan Drouin got a similar good look at the other end of the ice on Jon Gillies, who made the save like it cost him no energy at all. Gillies played like he had ice in his veins; it’s amazing how composed he manages to stay even in the most high-energy, high-pressure games. The US managed to deflect quite a few shots in front of Gillies, doing a good job of getting sticks on pucks in the defensive zone. Hartman managed to intercept a Reinhart pass from behind the net and clear it out of the US zone all the way down to Fucale’s end of the ice. Both teams had good scoring chances, but the physicality and speed were heavily tilted in favor of the US.

#2 Brady Skjei scoops the pucks off the boards for warm-up prior to  preliminary round game against Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Photo by Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)
#2 Brady Skjei scoops the pucks off the boards for warm-up prior to preliminary round game against Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Photo by Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Discipline issues returned to plague the US as both teams took some unwise penalties in the second period. Taylor Leier took a slashing penalty early, and with 30 seconds left in the US power play, Jon Gillies took a high-sticking penalty and the teams would play 4-on-4 for 30 seconds, followed by a Canadian power play. Literally a second before the US power play expired, Riley Barber put the US up 1-0, with assists to Slavin and Kerdiles. The US managed to kill the Gillies penalty. Both goalies had terrific saves one right after another, Fucale on Eichel and Gillies on a spectacular Drouin breakaway, but Nic Petan tied it for Canada and right after, Danny O’Regan was called for holding and Canada returned to the PP. A huge penalty kill from the US included a great shorthanded chance from Tommy DiPauli, and a nice pickpocket on Connor McDavid by Will Butcher. Continuing the parade to the penalty box, Derrick Pouliot went off for interference on Ryan Hartman at the end of the period.

The US started the 3rd with 1:47 remaining in the power play, but Canada managed to kill the penalty and get a power play of their own when Ian McCoshen went off for interference. Fasching managed a terrific shorthanded chance but was denied by Fucale, who was undoubtedly Canada’s star of the game. Connor McDavid scored his first of the tournament to put Canada up 2-1, and a questionable tripping call on Stefan Matteau gave Canada the opportunity to go up 3-1 on a Curtis Lazar power play goal. It looked briefly like a bad-angle goal from Jack Eichel would bring the game within one goal, but it was waved off when the refs saw that Fucale had indeed kept the puck from crossing the goal line. Kerdiles gave the Canadians yet another power play when he high-sticked Nic Petan, but the US killed the penalty and Connor Carrick got a breakaway reminiscent of his first NHL goal, though Fucale denied him. The Matteau-Copp-Fasching line had a huge, grinding shift that ended in a goal for the US, but it wasn’t enough, and Canada defeated the US 3-2.

NOTES: US receives first loss of tournament against Canada off spectacular game by Canadian goalie Fucale. USA outworked in faceoffs for the first time in the tournament as well. Huge effort from Matteau-Copp-Fasching line is a bright spot in the loss, as they continue their run as the USA’s best line in the tournament. Canada continued their pattern of giving up the first goal of the game in every game in the tournament, something that may come back to bite them later. USA will face Russia in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 6AM EST.

Hannah Stuart

Hannah Stuart

Wrangler of teenagers by day, writer by night. Hockey enthusiast from the land of no hockey. Multiple NHL team devotee (PIT/CHI/EDM). Student of the Coach Eric Taylor school of thought - clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.
Hannah Stuart

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