Every sports team needs to measure themselves against the best, so when it comes to international hockey, the spotlight increases for U.S hockey teams whenever they face Team Canada. Most of the time, our northern neighbors come out on top, but these games are still a nice barometer for how far this country has come.
In the case of today’s game, we know there’s at least one strong goalie on the United States roster.
Ty Conklin made 48 saves against a consistent Canadian attack, taking an over-matched U.S. team to a shootout before Rick Nash and Jordan Eberle ultimately won the skills competition. James Reimer only stopped 17 out of the 20 shots he faced, but he only needed to stop two shootout chances (one by Jack Johnson, the other by Blake Wheeler) to earn the shootout win.
The U.S. probably shouldn’t complain about the one point they earned after being out-shot 51-20.
After a scoreless first period, Mike Komisarek made it 1-0 for the United States. Brent Burns tied it up about three minutes later, but Johnson received a pass after leaving the penalty box and scored a nice breakaway goal to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead going into the third.
John Tavares and Jason Spezza scored goals about two minutes apart to give Canada a 3-2 third period lead, but the Americans had one more counter-punching goal in them. Derek Stepan shot a one timer past Reimer to make it 3-3, a score that would stand until the shootout.
The 2011 IIHF World Championships handle things a bit differently than the NHL, though. A regulation win will earn you three standings points, while a shootout win gets you two and a shootout loss nets one. To qualify for the next round, the U.S. will need to be in the top four of Group F. Here’s an updated look at that group’s standings via Versus.
Canada – 7 pts
Norway – 5 pts
Sweden – 4 pts
United States – 4 pts
Switzerland – 3 pts
France – 1 pt
The United States plays France on Saturday, but the biggest remaining game is the last qualifying round game against Switzerland on Monday. That game might make or break their hopes of competing for a medal for the first time since they earned a bronze in 2004.
You can check out America’s games on Versus and stay up to date on the results right here.