After losing to Canada 2-1 in the preliminary rounds, Team USA stunned the Canadians in the semi-finals with a commanding 5-1 win. The American's will face the winner of the Sweden/Russia game in the gold medal game on Saturday at 9:00 AM.
The American's started this game just how they wanted, and were able to gain the momentum from the puck drop, and carry it all throughout the first period. Canada was absolutely flat from the get-go, and were getting beat in every aspect of the game. Jake McCabe opened the scoring for the American's with a seeing-eye shot from the high slot, which beat Malcolm Subban over the right shoulder. How the puck made it through eight bodies in front of the net is beyond me, but hey, we'll take it.
As if one wasn't enough, McCabe made it 2-0 for the American's just seven minutes after his first, with a near identical shot from the point once again. Yet another perfectly placed shot which slipped just over the blocker of Subban, and the American's were able to control a majority of the first period. John Gibson was tested a few times throughout the period, which was highlighted by a sprawling toe save at the top of his crease which preserved the two goal lead for his team. This was exactly the type of start the American's were hoping for, and they got it.
Think the first period was great? USA came out just a strong in the second period, and were able to jump out to a 4-0 lead, and extinguished any sort of life the Canadian's had left. Just two minutes into the period, Johnny Gaudreau converted on an odd-man rush, sold the centering pass, and sniped it over the shoulder of Subban. Oh yeah, Gaudreau also made a nasty toe drag on the goal to add some insult to injury.
Just ten minutes later, Jim Vesey would give the American's an unforeseen four goal lead in the second period, and Subban's night was cut short following the goal. Vesey absolutely abused the Canadian defensemen with a beautiful toe drag move to the outside, and flipped it over the blocker of Subban.
Jordan Binnington would enter the game in relief of Malcolm Subban, and fared pretty well for coming in as a cold goaltender. The American's came inches away from making it a five goal lead after Rocco Grimaldi made a ridiculous drop pass on a breakaway which almost caught Binnington off guard. On the other end, John Gibson reeled in another sold period between the pipes, and added a few more highlight reel saves to his already vast collection.
The American's lost a little life in the third period as they got into some penalty trouble. Luckily with some heroics from John Gibson this game stayed 4-0 for a majority of the third period. Ty Rattie would score on an ensuing USA power play, but in the end, the goal shouldn't have counted. The original shot rang off of the crossbar, and there was a whistle shortly thereafter. The rebound came out to Rattie who wound up scoring, but the whistle came well before Rattie even put the shot on net.
With just about ten minutes left Johnny Hockey (Gaudreau) put the game away for the American's as he sniped home a breakaway chance, over the shoulder of Jordan Binnington. The American's will head to the gold medal round on Saturday at 9:00 AM, and will face the winner of the Sweden/Russia game later this morning.
Quick little stat line here for J.T. Miller. Miller came away with two assists on the night, and was solid down low in the corners. He also received a hefty majority of power play time, where he had a boat load of chances, but was unable to convert on them. Miller's line was a major contributor to the American's success, and created a lot of the momentum.
One more hill to climb!