On Wednesday night Team USA could not have asked for a better start in their semifinal match-up with Canada. The Americans jumped on the Canadians early and often and built a 2-0 lead midway thru the first period. They scored 79 seconds into the game after winning a faceoff in the Canadian end. Ryan Ufko took a shot that hit a clutch of players in front, and Logan Cooley was right there to snap the loose puck home.
On To The Action
That silenced the already quiet crowd. The U.S. continued to take it to Canada, controlling the puck and moving it with the confidence the hosts lacked. Not surprisingly, the Americans scored again, this time off a rebound. Charlie Stramel took the original shot, and Milic made a fine right pad save, but the puck came right to Kenny Connors, and he wasted no time with the second chance.
Down 2-0 the host nation Canadians dug deep and rallied. Canada struck back just over a minute after the US took the 2-0 lead. Thanks to, well, who else? Bedard. But this time he had plenty of help. Roy won the drawback to Ethan del Mastro at that point.
Del Mastro moved in and wired a hard pass through the crease, Bedard getting enough of the perfect pass to tip it over the outstretched pad of Trey Augustine to give Canada, and the fans, new life. It was Bedard’s tournament-leading ninth goal. The Americans would take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
Into the second the Canadians continued to build their momentum and that momentum translated into more goals. They were starting with the tying marker just 47 seconds in. Another faceoff win by Logan Stankoven, the leader in success rate in the tournament, got the puck to Roy. Roy’s shot was stopped by Augustine, but Stankoven poked home the rebound. 3-2 Canada.
Canada had a balanced attack, blocked a ton of shots, and was the beneficiary of two goals disallowed for goalie interference after the video review. But the star of the show was Canada’s goalie, Thomas Milic.
Milic made the game’s save, whipping the glove out to stop a Jimmy Snuggerud snapper from point blank. The Americans thought they had tied the game at 7:22 when Jackson Blake spun and slid the puck in from the top of the crease, but Canada asked for a video review based on goalie interference. After consulting their monitors, the referees agreed – no goal.
Sure enough, Canada extended its lead when Roy banged home a Stankoven pass at 12:20. 4-2 Canada into the second intermission Canada got a second golden reprieve 38 seconds into the third. The Americans thought they had scored to make it a 4-3 game when Rutger McGroarty shoved a loose puck in, but again Canada challenged for goalie interference – and again the officials agreed.
Two minutes later, on a power play, McGroarty clanged one off the post, and then Milic made the save of the game part 2. Playing a clear-in too casually behind his goal, he had the puck bounce off the heel of his stick and roll in front of the open goal. But as Cutter Gauthier fired, Milic slid back and made a save with stacked pads.
From that point on the Americans threw everything they had at the Canadians. They pressed they pulled their D into the rush, but to no avail. The Canadians made the score mid-way thru the third 5-2 beneficiaries of the over-aggressive offensive approach by team USA.
The Canadians would add an empty later in the waning moments of the game to finish the scoring and win the game 6-2.
The Canadians will battle Chechnya on Thursday for the Gold Medal at 6:30 pm, and the Americans will battle Sweden for the Bronze also tomorrow at 2:30 pm.
Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.