Perhaps a few people’s ears perked up when they heard Jack Campbell was being pulled from a 4-0 game with just 9:33 to go in what was almost sure to be a shutout. Why would the coach do such a thing? Isn’t it unfair to the goaltender?
Nathan White over at Buzzing the Net, had a great post on this topic last night in which Keith Allain had this to say:
“This isn’t about individual stats and Jack would probably be the first to tell you that. It was good for our team,” Allain said. “I think it will be better for all of us moving forward and Jack will be thrilled.”
It is important to get Andy Iles in the game. If he is needed at any point during the tournament, he’s now seen some live action. Only problem was, Germany couldn’t manage to get any shots on goal while the Ithaca, N.Y. native was between the pipes. Still Iles had to go through the process of getting focused and being ready for game situations, which can be tough to do coming off the bench. I agree with Allain that it’s good for the team to see what its like with Iles back there. Too bad the Germans couldn’t find a way to get a puck to him.
I also like this decision because it does Campbell no good to play the rest of a game that is well in hand. He made 14 saves, some difficult, most not. As I mentioned, Iles didn’t even get a shot in his 9:33 of work. Campbell just biding time in the crease without any work wasn’t going to help his game at all. He gets a little bit of a breather as the U.S. heads into its important game with Team Switzerland tonight. No need to expend energy late in the game.
White also got some comments from Campbell on the interesting situation:
“It’s great,” said Campbell, who did admit he had taken a shot off the knee. “It means more to be able to share it with Andy. He deserves a shutout and I’m confident if he was in there he’d be getting a full shutout too. It’s a full team effort and to be able to share it with such a great teammate, I couldn’t ask for anything more…”
…Campbell stressed the shot off the knee wasn’t enough to force him to the bench. It was all about Iles, who went undrafted last June due to concerns about his size.
“He’s working so hard, he deserves a chance to play. To get him in there was great for the team,” Campbell added.
I promise you, he is that nice and sincere in person. You almost can’t believe it, but that’s just the way he is. A confident kid, but one who is quick to praise those around him for contributing to his success. He and Iles developed a good relationship last season while playing together at the NTDP and the two have an immense amount of respect for each other.
It should also be noted that Iles was an outstanding goaltender with the Under-18 squad last season and has a gold medal to show for it from the World Under-18 Championship. He’s also a former New England Prep goalie of the year. He’s been outstanding for Cornell (ever heard of it?) this season in his freshman campaign, so he can be relied on if needed.
While technically, neither goaltender will be credited with the shutout, Jack Campbell still gets his 0.00 GAA and 1.000 save percentage for the game and Andy Iles gets a chance to play in his home state at the World Junior Championship. He may yet get another chance. All-in-all a nice night for both goaltenders.
A Quick Note: Jack Campbell’s numbers in international play are just bonkers. He’s got a 1.04 GAA and .954 save percentage for this tournament.
His career stat line in IIHF tournaments (2009 U18, 2010 WJC, 2010 U18, 2011 WJC) is…
1064 MIN – Record: 12-2-1-1 – 21 GA – 1.18 GAA – 435 SVS – .957 SV% – 6 SO (7 if you want to count last night)
World Under-17 Hockey Challenge Update:
Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. National Under-17 Team earned a 4-1 win over Germany to improve to 2-0-0-0 at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. It was another dominating effort for Team USA, as it out shot Germany 46-22.
The U.S. is tied for first place in Group A with Team Quebec and the two clubs are on a crash course for a battle for first place on Jan. 2, the last day of the preliminary round.
There’s no denying that Henrik Samuelsson was the story of the game and has been one of the stories of the tournament thus far. The son of former NHLer Ulf Samuelsson, netted a hat trick and now has five goals in two games.
The World Under-17s has long served as the first showcase for many players. Rocco Grimaldi, Tyler Biggs and John Gibson last year, Jack Campbell and Jason Zucker the year before, and Drew Shore before that are Americans that come to mind.
Samuelsson, who’s older brother, Philip, was in the mix for this years U.S. National Junior Team, is having that kind of tournament… through two games. He and Quebec’s Luca Ciampini lead the tournament with five goals apiece. Yeah, there’s another guy doing this.
For those that saw Samuelsson as a midget player with P.F. Chang’s in Arizona, this is what some expected he was capable of. He was arguably one of the most skilled players at the NTDP try out camp and has a great frame to work with (6-2, 195). He can stickhandle extremely well for a bigger guy and he protects the puck with ease. If there is a downside to his game, its his foot speed, but when you score five goals in two games, who’s going to care about that?
Miles Koules also scored for Team USA. The Los Angeles-native has showed a well-rounded offensive game. His vision allows him to find holes for himself or his teammates and his nose for the net has been on display all year, particularly in the international events. He’s a smaller player, so playing against his own age group helps a lot, but he’s been producing points at a high rate for this team. To think he was not initially invited to the NTDP’s 40-plus player camp, made the team and is one of its leading scorers is a huge testament to his ability. He’s turned out to be a great find for this U.S. squad.
Jacob Trouba has four assists in tournament play and continues to impress as he has most of this season. He leads all U.S. defensemen with four points, while Connor Carrick is second with three (1-3). Both are off to a tremendous start for Team USA.
Team USA also has two dependable goaltenders in Collin Olson, who picked up 21 saves in the win yesterday, and Jared Rutledge, who had a 15-save win on Wednesday.
The U.S. will get today off (it’s only off day of the tournament), before taking on Team Atlantic (Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island) tomorrow at 3 p.m. CST.
I’ll have my USA-Switzerland WJC preview up later this afternoon. So check back later today.