Today was sort of a rematch of last year's Olympic gold medal game, except this time, Thrashers were playing on both teams. Just like last year's Olympic final, this year's version needed extra time to determine a winner, and also just like the Olympics, Canada managed to come away with the win due to a goal in the shootout for final score of 4-3. Unlike the Olympics however, the USA managing to steal a point out of the game with Canada is good news since they were expected to lose the game outright. Before talking about USA vs. Canada, Ondrey Pavelec's play deserves a little attention, and remember that team USA will face France on VS. Saturday morning at 10:00 AM ET. our Thrashers in today's USA vs. Canada game, the standings and who we should be rooting for tomorrow, and how our Thrashers stack up against other players in the tournament so far.
Ondrej Pavelec backstopped the Czech's to yet another win today helping his nation beat the hometown Slovakians 3-2 by stopping 20 of 22 shots. With today's win, the Czech Republic has a perfect 4-0-0-0 record in the tournament. Even the high powered Canadians can only claim to be 2-2-0-0. Pavelec's record includes a shutout of Denmark who managed to put 3 into the net against the Russians and a 2-1 win over the Fins who beat the surprisingly good Germans. His 95.10 SV% is second highest in the tournament, and highest amongst goalies who've played in all 4 games for their teams so far, and his 1.25 GAA is tied for second lowest amongst starting goal tenders in the tournament so far (highest amongst goaltenders who've started all 4 games). The Czech Republic is looking to repeat as champs this year, so the pressure on the team is very high, and Ondrej Pavelec has been delivering.
USA vs. Canada
Keeping track of five players is tough, so, my comments are a little snarkier and less informative than in an ideal situation.
Only notice him on the PK and when forechecking, sometimes both at the same time. Can't really say that his game was good or bad either way, although it was fun to watch him facing Wheeler on the PP.
Stats: 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, +/- -1, 14:55 TOI
One of the things that worries me about Kane is that he gets hit a lot. Today was no different. It's awesome that he's aggressive and unafraid, and I don't want him to tone things down, but I do worry that it's only a matter of time before he ends up missing half a season with a concussion. His aggressive play didn't get its usual results tonight as he was kept off the score sheet and ended up with 2 penalty minutes.
Stats: 0 G, 0 A, 2 PIM, 2 SOG, +/- +1, 10:28 TOI
I'm sure that Wheeler actually had a few shots on goal regardless of what the score sheet says, although in the score keepers defense, they were pretty weak. Wheeler also missed in the shootout as we would expect any Thrasher to do. He's still looking like the best forward on the ice whenever he's out there. His give and go with Stepan to tie things up at three was highlight real worthy.
Stats: 0G, 2 A, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, +/- +1, 20:08 TOI
Funny moment of the night: watching Stapleton try to clear Kane from the crease. I'm liking his PK play, and I wish the IIHF score sheet included faceoffs for individual players since he's looked decent on the dot throughout the tournament. I'm still surprised at how much speed he can pick up with the extra ice opening up the neutral zone a little.
Stats: 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, +/- 0, 16:06 TOI
Rarely noticed Stuart today, so I apologize for discontinuing my series of favorite checks by Stuart. The few times I did pick him up though, his play was strong.
Stats: 0 G, 0A, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, +/- +2, 14:56 TOI
Standings and Who to Root For
|GROUP E||GROUP F|
Norway's win over Switzerland today was not good news for team USA. A win over Switzerland on Monday, and team USA will probably get to the quarterfinals, but a win over France Saturday will make things a lot easier. In other games, root for Canada over Norway and Sweden over Switzerland. The Czech Republic Germany game on Monday looks to determine the top seed in group E, but Russia could sneak in if they beat the Czech Republic on Sunday.
Things are not looking good for Latvia who lost to Belarus Thursday. Arturs Kulda will be back from suspension for them in their games against Slovenia and Austria. Let's hope his return is enough to keep Latvia out of D-1 next year.