What a game!
Nothing like the officials, both on ice and off, helping their boys back into this game. I’ve never seen worse officiating in a game. The “chippiness” of the Canadians was downright disgraceful. In youth tournaments you’re not supposed to let Canada throw hits after the whistle, attempt to paralyze one of our best defensemen with one of the worst major-boarding hits I’ve ever seen, and let the Canadians taunt the Americans in front of their own bench, then call no penalty for a blood-drawing cheap-shot. I’ve seen referees overwhelmed by the atmosphere of a home crowd before, but never like this. I wonder if hockey officials are gamblers?
I was proud that the American boys didn’t engage in such disgraceful behavior. Other than the stupid penalty by Hoeffel (which also earned him 10 min. extra — funny, I’d think a boarding call as dangerous as the one thrown on Shattenkirk would warrant more than just 2), the Americans stood tall, battled with honor, and ignored cheap-shot after cheap-shot. I have to hand it to Colin Wilson who was cross-checked like a pinball 3or4 times in a row directly in front of an official and kept his cool. It was an indication of the fear Canada was feeling because they were clearly overmatched early on.
So we should be proud that the better team lost but weren’t out there trying to hurt people or taunt the opposition in front of their own bench after goals. I’m glad to see these kids maintain their composure and show some CLASS. They were tying to win the hockey game while the Canadians were trying to feel worthy of wearing the Canadian sweater. And, but for some unreal saves by Tokarski, they USA would have won.
It was good to see Tokarski shut up his own country’s fans who were booing him after the 3rd American goal. He made some saves in the second and third period that kept his team in the game. It looked as though the Americans would get the upper hand after all the calls and bounces going against them, but “Toka” was there with quickness and timely sprawls.
The worst part was seeing the tired Americans attempt to get back in the game when the world was against them. And if you think I’m exaggerating, you need to travel. Canadians hate us like many Americans hate the French (myself not among them).
Which brings me to the referees. Again. Where the heck did they come from? You could see their reluctance, and I thought ‘fear,’ to make the calls against Canada. Were they simply not up to the task of officiating in such an intense environment? Did they really let Canada out of the box 8 seconds early leading to the 4th Canadian goal?
I also wondered about the ice early in the game and thought, “if it’s the NHL’s ice surface, it’s probably shit.” It certainly looked puddled and players on both sides were going down one-after-the-other during the first 5 minutes of play. I thought the officials did a great job of sending the message to Canada at the 8:20 mark of the first period – “feel free to tee-off on these imperialist bastards.” Fresh after the second American goal Della Rovere took his first bite of American ear taking a run at an American player a good few seconds after the whistle. While the hit was late and hard enough to dump the American player into the linesman, we went to commercial and all was forgiven.
Ironically, the color commentator was speaking about how tightly officials in youth tournaments call games like this to avoid the extracurricular activity. Maybe that’s why the interfering and slashing the Canadians were feeling free to employ were soon getting the Americans cycling through the penalty box. Tack on a penalty for clearing over the glass and Canada was on it’s way to victory.
It was Della Rovere involved in most of the dirty and disgraceful activity tonight, as he actively sought to injure people. It was Della Rovere hitting after the whistle, Della Rovere that threw the punch at VanReimsdyk, and Della Rovere who tried to kill Shattenkirk with a vicious boarding penalty-that-never-was. For all this, Della Rovere got 2 a whole minutes in the penalty box.
To wrap it all up. The Americans lost the game. Much of that is due to strength and depth at the back, which the Americans seemed to lack, but it will be interesting to see if a rested American team makes better decisions and has fresher legs late in the game in it’s next big game. I like that they actually have an extra game to get to the gold because it will give them that much more game time to figure out the little things they’re doing wrong. Clearing the zone of the penalty kill will be a priority as this team goes forward, as will making decisions with the puck – particularly at the back.
So, but for a broken stick, this game could have been much different. It looked like an American-runaway in the first, but the strength and depth of the Canadians got them back in the game.
It was officials, bounces, and fatigue that cost the Americans this game. We need to keep believing because at even strength, and when fresh, the Americans have been dominant. The one concern was the play of Jordan Schroeder, however. He seemed to be either slightly injured, or simply overwhelmed by the size of the game. Maybe this is the biggest game of his life. I don’t know. But the Americans will need a much better Schroeder if they hope to go farther in this tournament. I’m not sure, but I think the Russians are up next. If so, it will be great to get a look at the Russians and their skill, but the Americans must believe they are capable of beating anyone right now.