Something’s got to give for the US going forward. Dominating the tournament in the earlier parts of the decade and a gold against Canada in the shootout in 2017.
The Americans fell to the Finns in a tight 1-0 game. Did it come down to a hot goalie? Absolutely. But from what I saw there were very few high quality scoring chances that could have turned the tide. The closest being a point shot from Jones that went off the crossbar and that doesn’t even count! The Americans put 30 shots on Annunen and coming into this game they should have known they weren’t going to be scoring on perimeter shots.
Spencer Knight on the other side turned away 29 shots giving the US the best chance to win, but the stalemate was finally broken on the powerplay. You can only do so much as the goalie but Knight had himself a game but if you’re losing by 1 goal, odds are it isn’t on you. Knight finished as one of the “Top players for the United States” and after that game you can see why.
The game definitely was growing some claws as it went on with it becoming more and more chippy as the clock wound down. Several penalties that could have been majors, or hits that looked much worse than the one that got Nolan Foote ejected from his game. The game ended with some theatrics from either side with gloved punches being thrown with Pinto and Thomson (both Senators prospects) mixing it up.
Oliver Wahlstrom started figuring his scoring out in the latter part of the tournament but when your highest touted player only puts up 5 points in a tourney that he should dominate, he’s not ready at the next level. I hate to keep harping on Cole Caufield but man was he invisible most of the tournament. Scores one goal (had 2 points) the entire tournament when he should be scoring in bunches isn’t the best look for someone of his pedigree. Alex Turcotte, a 5th overall pick had 2 points; he’s a guy that should be leaned on heavily to produce, all of these guys are.
Nick Robertson, Shane Pinto, Trevor Zegras, and Arthur Kaliyev were the guys that stepped up for the United States. Contributed every single game and for the most part (aside from Zegras) were expected to contribute very little. Be it weird line distribution or what, these players made the most of their opportunities and shined. Pinto and Zegras were the other two top players for the United States.
Overall the tournament was disappointing for the US, they looked shaky on more than one occasion and for a team with some of the skill on it that they did is unacceptable. I’ve seen many calling for summits, and camps but those aren’t necessary. Maybe the process of producing top end and contributing talent through the USNTDP isn’t the best way to do it.
Photo Credit – IIHF.Com