Team USA were their own worst enemy in their 3-2 quarterfinal loss against the Russians Friday at the World Juniors. USA had a massive total of 16 penalty minutes. The players were very undisciplined, careless and the Russians made them pay on the powerplay.
Russia capitalized on their five on three powerplay through a goal from Barbashev early the first period. Alexander Sharov added another late in the first to give the Russians a two goal lead. The Americans tried to launch a comeback through a powerplay goal from Anthony DeAngelo in the second period. But another powerplay goal, courtesy of Russia’s Sergei Tolchinski allowed the Russians to hang on for the win.
Russian goalie Shestyorkin had a sensational game stopping 39 shots to help carry his team to victory.
Careless Penalties Eliminate USA
The USA never really got going in this game because they were too busy killing penalties. Guys like Eichel weren’t able to put any sustained pressure on the Russians in the first two periods of the game. They were careless with their sticks, sloppy in front of goal in the offensive zone had trouble getting through the neutral zone for most of the game.
The Detroit Red Wings prospect had a total of seven shots on goal and used his speed affectively to create chances. The Americans' inability to convert any of their powerplay opportunities really hurt them in this game. However, the Americans finally woke up in the third period, outshooting the Russians 20-5. They have a 5 on three advantage but weren’t able to get the puck by Shestyorkin The Russian’s defencemen did a wonderful job pressuring their opponents and limiting their time with the puck.
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This will be a massive disappointment for the United States. This team had an incredible amount of talent and depth within their roster. They had high expectations and looked poised to get a medal before this game. It just goes to show how critical staying out of the box can be. It killed the States in this tournament and it’ll be a long time before these players get over this loss.
For the Russians this is a huge boost of confidence. This is the second consecutive year the Russians are headed to the semi-finals of the tournament. If Shestyorkin can put together another solid performance in goal for the Russians, this team could be on their way to the finals.
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