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USA Stumbles in 6-3 Win Over Slovakia

Here are my notes that I took while watching the game. Beware, there are many and some can be a bit confusing. Also, there are some times where I didn’t know names so I just used the country’s abbreviation.

1st period:

  • Overall even play for most of the first period
  • A lot of one-and-done’s
  • Neither team had sustained pressure until there were some power play opportunities
  • USA denied the Slovaks on 2 power plays where the Slovaks had possession and scoring chances
  • Noticed in the first game that Gillies gave up some rebounds and he gave up a lot of bad rebounds during these power plays
  • One opportunity came from a rebound that left Gillies way out of position but the Slovaks hit the outside of the net
  • USA started to build up some consecutive shifts in the offensive zone when Slovaks took a penalty
  • Bad breakdown by the Slovaks lead to Eichel entering the zone right through the slot without any coverage and beat Sabol five hole
  • Sabol mishandles a puck at a face off dot with less than a minute left, which is a delay of game penalty
  • O’Regan pots one at the buzzer as the USA swarmed with less than 30 seconds left, puck kind of richoted to O’Regan who was standing just outside the near post and had an empty net

2nd period:

  • USA gets an early PP as Cernak elbows Hartman in the face after a dump in
  • Kerdiles had a nice toe-drag pass that set up a scoring opportunity early in the PP
  • SVK with a 2-on-1 shorthanded break but Gillies denies Marko Dano on the shot, gives up a rebound, but Gillies denies the rebound opportunity as well
  • Hartman blasts a one-timer by Sabol shortside, PP goal
  • Game was very physical and Slovaks were playing an emotional game and that led to some dumb penalties and a couple of lapses
  • Great PK by USA shortly before halfway point of period
  • USA really started to assert itself and take control in the first half of the 2nd period
  • Another 2-on-1 for SVK but Gillies makes the stop moving from his left to his right
  • Matteau slow to get up and appears shaken up after taking a hip check
  • McCoshen off for tripping after a long shift
  • Kolena beats Gillies low after yet another rebound that sat in the slot
  • Kolena beat all 4 USA players to juicy rebound
  • Eichel with two good chances right after goal but Sabol denies both
  • But, USA takes a penalty, Hartman for high-sticking in the offensive zone, looked like he was trying to lift his stick over a SVK to get by him and he caught him on the side of the head
  • Chaos in front of the USA goal leads to SVK goal
  • USA loses containment in front of their own net and Gillies loses control and Reway has easy goal
  • SVK looked dead in the water and looked lost emotionally, then a long shift results in a USA penalty and SVK scored and have been completely re-energized
  • USA called for interference in the offensive zone again, this time by Fasching, 2nd time they tried to set a pick and 2nd time they’ve been called, just under 4 minutes to go
  • Reway on the PP was a dominant presence, SVK had sustained possession
  • USA kills the PP, now 1:50 remaining in period
  • SVK called for roughing with :59 seconds left when Cernak forearms player in the face, PP carries over to 3rd period

3rd period:

  • SVK kills off USA PP for first time in the game
  • SVK with a sneaky pass from behind the net to right in front but Gillies makes the stop
  • Valjent slashes the stick out of Matteau’s hands, USA PP, they’re 3-4 on the PP
  • Another 2-on-1 shorthanded break for SVK, stopped by Gillies
  • Marko Dano has a breakaway after USA turnover, but Gillies deflects shot up and over the glass
  • USA look out of it to start the period
  • SVK kills off PP and never got a SOG and never really got set up
  • The 1st shift after the PP ends is better than the PP
  • Around 7:00 mark, Sabol got out of position and was all over the place, but USA couldn’t get anything on net
  • Halfway through period, USA goal, defenseman shoots wide intentionally and Grzelcyk right next to the post slams it home
  • Barber with a nice opportunity on a 3-on-2 but Sabol makes the shoulder save
  • Barber again, this time a 3-on-1 break and Sabol makes the stop again
  • Sabol another big save on a Kerdiles deflection
  • Yet another odd man break and Sabol keeps the puck out of the net
  • SVK pinching and hard-attacking leading to some odd man rushes for USA
  • Matteau scores with 5:45 after the SVK’s lose sight of the puck in the corner and USA gets to it first and Copp finds Matteau in the slot who beats Sabol
  • Announcers just said that the youngest player on SVK was born in 1997…………..goddamn that hurts
  • 2-on-1 for USA and Barber pots another from a nice pass from Copp, Kerdiles set up the play as he entered the zone and stopped to allow the play to develop
  • Fasching comes in 1-on-4 and ends up in the net himself….with Sabol covering up the puck
  • SVK gets a garbage goal on a backhand from Reway
  • Bad goal by Gillies, went through the five hole from inside the face off circle

Honestly, even though USA won, it was not a very good performance. There were times where USA was dominant and did everything right, but there were certainly too many times where USA faltered a bit. It was a physical, emotional game and Slovakia may have let their emotions out a little too much in that first period. However, as the game went along they were able to control their emotions and it looked like the USA had a bit of trouble controlling their emotions and took some bad penalties. The most concerning part of the game for the USA was Gillies in net. For the second game in a row, he gave up some bad rebounds and finally the opposing team was able to convert on those rebounds. Honestly, I know Gillies is a good goaltender, but I don’t know if he is a goalie that can lead the team to a gold medal. Last year, we knew that John Gibson was a gold medal-caliber goalie. Slovakia played pretty well for the majority of the first two and a half periods, but USA took control in the third and put it in cruise control.

Up next is Germany on Sunday morning.

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Tags: 2014 World Junior Championships Slovakia USA

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