Tuesday, January 5, 2010
One for the Ages: The IIHF World Juniors Championship 2010, USA 6, Canada 5, 1 OT
It was a prime showdown between the Yanks and the Loons in Saskatoon this evening, a World Juniors Championship matchup between the two powerhouse teams of the tournament, USA and Canada. Both teams are just filthy with NHL draftees and soon-to-be's, and many of them got a piece of the pie in a 6-5 slobberknocker full of big hits, big goals, and enough energy to kick a coffee habit.
Thanks to a combination of Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy blog, my being po', and justin.tv, I was able to watch the game in the company of a bunch of puckheads and witty comments. Catch "Bettmans Nightmare" representing and snarking with the best of them here.
There were many highlights, including goals by Rangers prospects Chris Kreider (his 6th in 7 games) and Derek Stepan (4th goal and 13th point of the tournament). Kreider's goal, the first U.S. goal in the game, was a gorgeous shot, top-shelf and glove-side on goalie Jake Allen.
The decidedly non-heroes were the starting goaltenders for USA and Canada, Mike Lee and Jake Allen (respectively), who were both yanked out of the game after poor play. The USA replacement, 17-year old Jack Campbell, was stellar in relief, stopping 32 of 34 shots in netting the victory. Canada's Martin Jones stopped 8 of 9.
The real heroes were two of the most heralded prospects on the ice, Canada's Jordan Eberle and USA's John Carlson (picture above). Eberle brought the game into overtime with two clutch goals in the final minutes of the third, but it was Carlson's savvy goal in the overtime period that pushed USA over the top and into only its second gold in IIHF World Juniors history. After a quick transition from a 3-on-2 shot in their own end, Carlson and Derek Stepan carried a 2-on-1 into the Canada zone and, feigning a crossing pass, Carlson ripped a shot low on Jones' blocker side, clinching the win.
With a couple of lead changes and a furious comeback from Canada in the third, the game was a thrill to watch from start to finish. In 10 years, we will surely see some of these players crack big-league lineups; in the meantime, if you didn't catch this game, go to your neighbor's house and borrow the tape, because this was one for the ages. This has inspired a future post on the greatest amateur games of all time, it's that good.
Keep these names in mind, you'll be screaming them later (haha):
Jordan Eberle - 2008 1st rounder, Edmonton
Taylor Hall - 2010 eligible (projected 1st overall)
Nazem Kadri - 2009 1st rounder, Brian Burke Town
Alex Pietrangelo - 2008 1st rounder, St. Louis
Brayden Schenn - 2009 1st rounder, L.A.
Jack Campbell - 2010 eligible (let the hysteria commence...)
John Carlson - 2008 1st rounder, Washington
Jerry D'Amigo - 2009 6th rounder, Brian Burke Town
Chris Kreider - 2009 1st rounder, Rangers
Kyle Palmieri - 2009 1st rounder, Anaheim
Jordan Schroeder - 2009 1st rounder, Vancouver
Derek Stepan - 2008 2nd rounder, Rangers
In closing, I'll leave the 1980 Olympic Team references to the hacks. I prefer 1950s Phillies lingo...and I present to you the 2010 US World Junior Championship team, the Whiz Kids!