Monday, December 29, 2008

US Survives

The Americans survived a game that was closer than they would have liked, but in the end, they were able to hold off a late Czech attack and skate on to a 4-3 victory.

The first period was evenly skated as both teams had several good scoring chances. Both goaltenders, Dominik Furch for the Czechs and Thomas McCollum for the Americans, had a handful of showy saves to keep the scoring to a minimum.

There was only one goal in the first period. Jordan Schroeder scored it with a wrist shot on a power play. It was his first of two goals in the game. Schroeder also added an assist in the game and now has seven points in two games at this year’s championship.

The lead lasted until 5:14 into the second period when the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Roman evened the game, sending up a hearty roar from the 19,847 fans. The crowd set a new single-game attendance record, beating the number set on opening day and, surprisingly, topping the two games involving Canada.

Matt Rust restored the one-goal American lead when his long distance shot found its way between the pads of Czech goaltender Dominik Furch. James vanRiemsdyk gave the U.S. some breathing space with a late-period goal to make it 3-1 with 1:26 left in the second.

The momentum carried into the third period as Schroeder netted his second goal, an even-strength effort that came just 3:43 into the period. The three-goal lead was short-lived as Martin Paryzek made it 4-2 with a slap shot from the slot that made its way through heavy traffic in front of the net. The Czech comeback bid continued when Jan Kana scored a power-play goal with 3:17 left in the game, pulling to within one. But the Americans kept the Czechs from completing the comeback as they held on for a 4-3 win.

Despite the loss, the effort still represented a bit of redemption for the Czechs, who struggled in their opening game against Canada, losing 8-1. The bulk of the Czech team is the group that was relegated two years ago from the top division of the U18 championship.

Next up for the Czechs is Germany on Tuesday after a day off. The Americans also have tomorrow off before taking on Kazakhstan.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

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