Saturday, January 03, 2009

USA slides out of the medals in Ottawa

Two nights ago they played in one of the most talked about and viewed hockey games in world junior history, as Saturday will dawn in Ottawa the USA hockey team will face the cold reality that for all intents and purposes their trip north is over, no medals to bring home and many questions to answer for how things went so wrong.

The New Year's eve game with Canada is now being talked about in terms such as another classic, Friday night's game with Slovakia probably won't be quite described in those momentous terms, at least not in the USA.

Slovakia played perhaps the game of their lives on Friday evening, shocking the American's with their tenacity and taking the play to the USA squad despite the outrageous number of shots, 49 in total that Slovakian goaltender Jaroslav Janus had to face. The undrafted OHL goaltender, put on a remarkable display of goaltending on Friday, one which will surely register with scouts looking for a solid prospect for their respective clubs.

A clearly frustrated American side just couldn't find the necessary chemistry nor result to propel them past their disappointment of New Year's eve loss to Canada, and instead of hoping for one more shot at the Canadian team in this year's tournament, the US will now be playing for fifth place or lower by the time the Gold medals are awarded elsewhere.

The Americans seemed lost at times on the ice, confused as to how their fate was unfolding and more than aware that each minute on the clock was slipping by on their dreams of a gold medal at this years tournament.

For Slovakia it was an exciting in unexpected result, one which moves them into the final four and a date with the Swedes on Saturday night.

Canada, rested up from their New Year's Eve victory over the Americans will face the Russians in another match that should have the TSN audience count climbing skyward, the New Year's Eve match with the USA set another TSN record, as 1.67 million Canadians pulled up to the television set on Wednesday to watch the thrilling Canadian comeback, the previous record of 1.4 million was set during the 2005-06 edition of the tournament.

Globe and Mail-- Slovakia upsets U.S.
Globe and Mail-- It's Russia up next
The Sun Newspapers-- 'Game of my life'

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