Another busy day in American hockey brought mixed results for the various U.S. teams in action this week.
In Lake Placid, the U.S. roster made up of National Junior Team hopefuls fell to Sweden 4-1. In Slovakia, the U.S. Under-18 Select Team earned a 5-4 shootout win against Slovakia, but it was not enough to earn a spot in the semifinals at the Ivan Hlinka. In Ann Arbor, the U.S. Under-17 Select Team were given all they could handle by Germany, but earned a 4-2 win and own sole possession of first place at the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament.
Coming up after the jump, a recap of it all.
Sweden Downs U.S. in Lake Placid
After making cuts Tuesday, the U.S. was left with 29 players in camp. Twenty-two dressed in the game against Sweden, but couldn’t get much going offensively, dropping a 4-1 decision.
Vince Trocheck scored the lone U.S. goal and has continued to have a pretty productive camp. Jack Campbell was between the pipes for the U.S. and made 23 saves.
Campbell may not have had his best night, but he talked to NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman about working on the mental side of his game. He has the talent, but goaltending is a position that requires a mentally tough individual. Campbell hasn’t faced a ton of adversity in his young career, but sounds like he learned a lot from the last year. There’s little doubt he’ll be the man in net for the USA come December.
Perhaps the surprise of the camp has been Kenny Agostino. The soon-to-be Yale sophomore is leading the camp with eight points (2-6). That kind of production can’t be overlooked, and clearly it hasn’t been. He’s put himself firmly in the mix with his performance. Should his play from camp carry over to the first half of this season, he’d be a tough guy to cut. It’s still surprising how far Agostino has come over the last year. To think before his freshman season at Yale he was playing New Jersey high school hockey and now he’s got a chance to be part of a U.S. National Team is pretty remarkable. As a Penguins draft pick, he’s also been able to impress the man who may be his coach one day, as Dan Bylsma is in Lake Placid as a camp coach. Not a bad week for Agostino.
The U.S. squad will be back in action Thursday against Finland at 4 p.m. EDT.
Under-18s Overcome Disappointment, Beat Slovakia
Just hours before it was set to play host Slovakia, the U.S. had already learned its fate in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament. Russia defeated Finland, 3-1, earlier in the day meaning the U.S. would be able to finish no better than third in the group, leaving it out of the semifinals. Russia finished with seven points in the standings, while Finland earned six.
Despite the disappointment, the U.S. proved resilient against Slovakia. Despite having to overcome multi-goal deficits three separate times, Team USA found a way to earn the 6-5 win as Alex Galchenyuk and Jordan Masters each scored in the shootout.
Masters scored twice in regulation to extend his team lead to six points (4-2). Masters has continued to turn heads as he also led the Select 17 Player Development Camp in points. The Muskegon Lumberjack has shown he can be a consistent scorer. Here is a look at his shootout goal, via the NHL Draft Video Blog.
Looks like someone lost his jock strap.
And just for fun, here’s a look at Masters’s first goal against Slovakia.
Brendan Silk, Louie Nanne and Galchenyuk had the other goals in regulation. Jon Gillies may have had a rough go in regulation but did not allow anything in the shootout to help preserve the win.
While the U.S. can be happy with two wins, being out of the title hunt has to sting a little. The loss to Finland got everything off on the wrong foot, then giving up a late goal to Russia cost Team USA a crucial regulation win. After that, the Americans needed some help from the Finns Wednesday, but got none as Russia bounced back from the U.S. loss quite nicely.
The U.S. will meet the Czech Republic in the fifth place game Friday at 9:30 a.m. EDT.
U.S. U17s Continue Rolling at Five Nations
While it was a much tougher game for the U.S. Under-17 Select Team, the result was similar. Germany provided quite the challenge, but Team USA was able to skate away with a 4-2 win.
Adam Erne, Ryan Siroky, Vinni Lettieri and Gabe Guertler (eng), each scored goals in the win, while Thatcher Demko had another terrific effort in goal.
Demko is a big goaltender from San Diego and has made all of the saves he’s supposed to make and a few that you wouldn’t expect most goalies to make. Germany was certainly more skilled than the Czech team the U.S. saw the previous night, so Demko had to be on his game and he was. He looks confident in net, and that goes a long way for his teammates. Clearly the U.S. club is pleased with their goaltender.
It was another solid evening for big Adam Erne as well. He scored for the second straight night, but also established more of his physical game against Germany. The Germans were no doubt a physical bunch, but anytime anyone tried to put a hit on Erne, they basically bounced off. The big man also layed a few hits of his own. Right now, Erne is bigger than the majority of his peers. He’ll need to continue to grow his game as his body grows so that his fellow 1995s don’t pass him up as they get bigger. That said, Erne can really skate well, he has some pretty nice skills and his shot is near pro-level already. Can he get better? Sure, but there’s a lot to really like about his game.
Guertler scored an empty netter, but was a scoring-chance machine all night long. He just happened to have a really talented goaltender making highlight reel stops every few minutes it seemed.
German netminder Hannibal Weitzmann was out of his mind, making 43 stops on the night. Had he not been in goal, it could have been ugly as the U.S. badly outshot Team Germany.
Daniel Labosky, who didn’t play much after a dangerous hit from behind he received in the second period, is a pretty exciting player to watch. He might not big, but he can really fly around the ice and just makes plays. He’s been playing with Erne and Guertler and that line has been utterly fantastic through both games. They get a ton of time on the power play and plenty of five-on-five minutes as well. Really impressive group right there.
The U17s have Thursday off, but will be back in action against Team Slovakia Friday at 7 p.m. EDT. I’ll be providing color alongside my partner Brandon Camper on FASTHockey.com. We are trying to provide a more interactive broadcast, so please send your questions about the U.S. Under-17 Select Team on Twitter or to our specified broadcast email address: email@example.com. We’ll read some of those questions and answer them on the air.
So be sure to check out the games on FASTHockey.com and chime in with some of your thoughts or questions. It’s been a lot of fun to be back in the booth calling games. Who doesn’t love hockey in August?