Once again, there was an early goal in the game including the United States. Unfortunately, it was scored by the Russians. They held on to a one goal lead until late in the second period, when Jacob Trouba evened things up for the Americans. During the third period, Valeri Nichushkin took the puck from coast to coast, and Vladimir Tkachyov pushed the puck past United States goalie John Gibson. Team Russia was able to maintain the lead and fight off a late onslaught from the US to win the game 2-1.
I think that team USA played a pretty strong game, but they allowed themselves to get into penalty trouble during the first period (Russia’s first goal was scored on a power play), which made it difficult for them to maintain possession of the puck. During the second period, the team played quite a bit better, and they continued strong play at the beginning of the third. Once Russia scored their second goal, the team seemed to be playing aggressively. Noticing this, the Russian coaches called a timeout to try and reinvigorate their team. This worked exceptionally well, because the team came back flying. Surprisingly, the USA didn’t push back very hard. They seemed to come out of the timeout very flat-footed, almost lethargic. There were a couple of strong shifts, but it wasn’t until there were three minutes left in the period that the entire team seemed to wake up. Unfortunately, their wake-up did not lead to strong connective play. Instead, they seemed frantic, and that lead to some sloppy play.
This wasn’t a horrible game. This was two good teams playing each other, with one coming out on top. This does not spell disaster for Team USA, but they need to beat Canada and Slovakia during this round-robin.
-In the USA’s pool, they now sit in third with three points, Canada is first with six and Russia is second with five.
-The Russian goalie, Makarov, played a really wonderful game. He’s a strong goaltender, and I don’t think the US put enough traffic in front of him.
-Rocco Grimaldi played really well during this game. He didn’t earn any points, but I think he did a good job of controlling the puck and creating opportunities for the team when he was out there.
-Jacob Trouba was named Player of the Game for the USA. (Makarov was PotG for Russia.)
-Team USA’s next game is on December 30, at 5 am ET. It will be aired on NHL Network.