We are juat 15 mintues from the opening face off here in Fargo ND. USA is going to take on a Finish team coming off a big victory over Russia two days ago. This will be Team USA's first test.
For Thrasher fans, the USA squad probably has at least one player that Atlanta will draft this summer or next summer. The Thrashers take Americas, but especially players who will go on to the college ranks as many of these players will.
The USA features many players rated likely to be drafted but this squad is short on sure fire 1st round talents. Jeremey Morin and Drew Shore are the top rated Americans according to ISS. The Fins also feature Toni Rajala who is rated as a late 1st round pick by ISS. Erik Haula and Sami Vatanen were both impressive in the opening day victory over Russia.
Early toughts: USA looks quicker than Finland, but has iced the puck twice. No quailty chances for either team so far.
Valek just missed a goal on a rebound chance on the Right doorstep after the Finnish goalie made a save and allowed a rebound.
Treais scores from left circle just above the hash marks. It was 3-2 and he was the open man, fired and scored. 1-0 USA
Morin pass from behind the net to set up Lynch for a point blank right doorstep scoring chance--Save.
Haula with a high slot shot on goal for Finland, decent chance.
2-0 USA. D'Amigo cuts wide on defender and goes far side, the Finnish netminder got a deflected the puck with his stick but it sick.
Karmeniemi hit the post with a slapper from the blue line on the Power Play, USA kills off penalty.
Vatanen with nice pinch behind the net, circles behind net and throws it to the crease but nobody is able to put it home.
I'm not goalie expert, but the Finnish goalie looks late in reacting to shots.
USA with a play developing but Rajala sets in and picks off the pass in the slot area.
Finland absolutely robbed. Aaltonen wide open on the door step and USA goalie does desperation windmill save and it works. Crowd goes wild gives, some give him standing ovation.
End of 1st period, 2-0 USA
Finland Power play: Rajala with a shot that produces a rebound but they can't cash in. Then a nice tick-takc-toe passing play by Finland going side to side and againa USA save. Finally the puck comes back to the Finnihs point man who is preparing to shot only to have the USA player lift his stick and prevent the shot on goal.
Hitting and intensity rising now.
Morin with a border line dirty high hit to the head of Haula.
Nattinen who was pretty invisible two days ago with nice offensive move but fails to get a shot away.
R. Bourque is showing some great bursts of acceleration, he really jets up the wing with the puck.
Rajala with two hooking penalties this period.
Team Finland with three great chances in the span of 30 seconds. twice they just hit the goalie and fired it wide on the third. Wide open men 10 feet from the net each time.
Treais with another great pass to set up a shot on goal (didn't see who took it).
Morin nearly scores as he gets a shot while the Finnish goalie is half way out of his crease.
3-0 USA. Lynch skates out from behind Finlands net and gets all the way to the has marks and fires a shot high. No chance for Finnish netminder on that one, his defense really let him down.
D'Amigo with a nice chance as he gets a step on the Finnish defender.
Vatanen showing some nice skating and puck skills tonight.
USA 4-0 Chris Brown left all alone on next to the goalie and a loose puck squirts out to him--he steps out in front of the goalie and scores easily.
Start of the 3rd Finland breaks the shut out 4-1 now. On the very first shift of the period Granland picks up a rebound and easily lifts it over a prone USA goalie Adam Murray.
Finnish PP gets good puck movement into the slot but fails to get a shot away.
Zucker hits the post for the USA.
Nieto (USA) and Aaltonen (FIN) try to fight but the linesmen keep them apart. One player tosses his helmet across the ice.
Time is winding down now, just 6 minutes left on the clock. The score should probably be a little closer based on the play. Finland has worked hard as usual but they really lack the explosiveness and speed that Team USA has used repeatedly to create pressure and scoring chances.
4-2 Finland scores with 5 minutes left. Pulkkinen cuts into the slot and just rips one past the USA's Adam Murray. Pulkkinen is too young for the 2009 draft.
4-3 Finland Haula comes out of the corner right through the crease takes a slash and puts a backhander shot over Murray to make it a one goal game with 3 and a half minutes to go.
USA just chipping puck out of their zone, has resulted in two icing calls now. 3 minutes to go. Crowd is nervious.
Big save by Murray as Karajainen fires one from the top of the circle.
Extra attacker at 1 minute mark. Vatanen mishandles puck, but it stays in. USA clears, 17 (I think) takes a big hit to get the clear.
USA wins 4-3.
Players of the Game: Adam Murray (USA) and Tommi Kivisto.