United States flames out at IIHF World Junior Championships
Friday December 30, 2011 | By:Matthew Ondesko, Metro Source Editor
After winning gold in 2010 and bronze in 2011, the United States had a lot of confidence heading into the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championships.
After an 11-3 opening round win over Denmark, Team USA had to feel this might be their year to win another medal.
But, just like that, the roof caved in and the United States could never pick up the pieces.
After a stunning 4-1 loss to Finland in their second game of the tournament, the United States fired 54 shots on the Czech Republic, only to lose 5-2 and knock them out of the tournament.
What started with a lot of optimism has turned into a disaster for the United States.
And now Team USA must try and pick up the pieces and see where they went wrong.
But, before they do that, they will play their last game of the preliminary round against border rival Team Canada on New Year’s Eve night.
It will be a ‘gold’ medal game for the United States as they try and end the tournament on a high note.
For the Canadians, and its fans, it is a chance to rub salt in the wound.
"I'm extremely disappointed, but am still focused on tomorrow's game," said Dean Blais told USAHockey.com. "Our players have a lot of pride, and we will be ready to go tomorrow."
Being ready to go has been a problem for the United States all tournament. A slow start and a horrible finished against Finland coast them in that game. In their game against the Czech’s, they just couldn’t beat the goaltender.
Sometimes in a tournament like this, it’s the goaltending that can steal you a game. The United States was the much better team then the Czech’s.
But, the difference was, the Czech’s had the better play between the pipes.
Since Team USA has set the bar so high the past couple of seasons, this tournament will be considered a disappointment.
But, remember, this team has only been together for a couple of weeks. It is tough for any team to gel the quickly on and off the ice.
Maybe, they should pick the team sooner and get the kids to play together for a couple of weeks before this tournament.
I understand that most of the boys are from college programs, but to be able to compete in this type of tournament they have be able to gel quicker.
Either way, the United States did not play up to their potential the last two games.
Hopefully, against Canada, the USA will show the world what they are made of.
Maybe a win against the Canadians will propel the USA into a bright 2012.