This was predicted to be a rough year for American hockey in the WJC. The pundits had the USA placing seventh this year. Among the teams they had placed above them was Canada, Russia, and Germany. I don’t know if the American team was reading the same list that I was, but if they are they’re treating it like their own personal hit list. It took longer for a referee to change his skates in the penalty box then it did for America to score its first goal. Sean Kuraly put one in the net in the first nineteen seconds. Technically, it was the game winner.
Jacob Trouba scored a few minutes later at 8:30, and Alex Golchenyuk fired a missile at 9:54 to bring the score to 3-0. The second period was more of the same. It only took fifteen seconds for Riley Barber to put one in the net to bring it to 4-0. Shayne Gostisbehere put up the teams first power play goal at 6:33. Ryan Hartman put the next sinker in the net at 7:55, and the rout was on. Two third period goals by J.T Miller and Seth Jones brought the total score to a 8-0 blow out of team Germany.
The only problem team USA had was staying out of the “sin bin”. Three times in the course of the game, team USA penalties left them in a very dangerous 5-on-3 situation. Magnificent crease policing by John Gibson (nineteen saves in two periods) and Jon Gillies kept Germany from ever getting into the game. This team has impressed a lot of us writers, and certainly their coach. “Trying to get off to a good start was a focus going into that game against Germany,” said USA coach Phil Housley. “Our guys did a great job, and played hard and we got a lot of scoring from different lines and the defense contributed and our goaltending was good, particularly on the extended 5-on-3 power plays. It was the game we were looking to have going into the game against Russia.”
Russia and Canada are the teams to beat if the USA wants to score gold this year. The players know it, and they’re doing everything in their power to make sure they can do it. Jacob Trouba, who racked up the second goal of the game mentioned them in a post game interview. We have not watched them yet, but all of the Russian teams I’ve played always have a lot of skill,” Trouba said. “And we know they have a good goalie. They will be a big test for us.” Trouba wasn’t just looking right ahead at Russia, but down the line towards Canada. “We don’t have the big guns like Canada does and some of the other teams,” Trouba said. “So we are going to need balance throughout the tournament, but I also thought our defense was very good [against Germany].”
They may not have the biggest guns in the arsenal, but this team is going to make themselves heard.