Game Highlights/Review: Canada 2 USA 1

Here are the highlights of this morning’s Canadian 2-1 victory over Team USA in #WJC2013 Group play. Correcting something I wrote really early following the live viewing, Islander prospect Ryan Strome didn’t score on a wrap around. Rather a tip in off a Brett Ritchie feed. Ritchie beat Seth Jones and patiently waited before feeding Strome for the put away. It was Strome’s team best fourth. He has had a knack for scoring in the WJC, which should excite Islander fans.

The big line of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jonathan Huberdeau and Mark Scheifele were dangerous for portions, generating odd-man chances on American netminder John Gibson, who was splendid making 30 saves with several highlight reel stops giving his team an opportunity to come back.

As I said in the prior post, penalty trouble was Team USA’s undoing. Even though Canada couldn’t take advantage late, they were able to protect a one-goal lead in large part due to our country’s inability to stay out of the box. You simply can’t get whistled for consecutive checking to the head minors. The one that irked me was Ryan Hartman’s with the 17-year old ’13 Draft eligible coming across the ice to hit Nugent-Hopkins. It was ridiculous. He showed immaturity following a crucial kill of teammate Jake McCabe’s checking to the head penalty. Both were untimely penalties that killed any momentum Phil Housley’s club had following Jacob Trouba’s power play goal which cut it to 2-1 with 8:58 left.

Gibson had denied Canada of a shorthanded bid and then Mike Reilly and team-leading scorer Alex Galchenyuk (1-4-5) combined to set up Trouba for his second third of the tournament. On the next shift, Cole Bardreau was stoned by Malcolm Subban, who earned the game’s Top Star with 36 saves. It was the closest they came to tying it.

“We had our opportunities to tie or win the game,” said Housley. “We have to eliminate our mistakes, and that includes penalties. Thankfully, our penalty killers stayed composed and were great tonight. In net, John Gibson certainly kept us in the game. Now, we have to regroup and get ready for Slovakia tomorrow.”

Having scored only twice in consecutive one goal defeats to Russia and Canada, USA must defeat Slovakia tomorrow at Ufa, Moscow to qualify for the playoff round. They better find offense. The game can be seen live at 5 AM Monday. Set your alarm clocks.


About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.
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