SCOTIABANK PLACE – The United States ended the 2009 IIHF World U20 Championship on a positive note after earning fifth place with a 3-2 overtime victory against the Czech Republic. James vanRiemsdyk scored the game-winner.
United States – Czech Republic 3-2 (1-0, 0-0, 1-2, 1-0)
The game was a re-match of the preliminary round meeting, which the U.S. won 4-3. The game started out slowly, as one might expect a fifth-place game, but as things progressed, the teams picked up steam thanks to heated tempers on both sides.
The Czechs have now finished fifth or sixth at this tournament every year since 2006.
The U.S. took the lead 8:36 into the game when Eric Tangradi scored his first goal of the championship. The U.S. had another good chance late in the period, but couldn’t force the puck in and had to settle for a minor scrum in front of the net instead.
The U.S. dominated the second period, but was unable to convert any of its chances into goals. After two periods, the U.S. had out-shot the Czechs 33-14.
The Czechs bounced back to life in the third period, sparked by the 1-1 goal from Zdenek Okal 2:23 into the period. Things started to get feisty between the squads as Teddy Ruth and David Stich squared off and were both assessed five minutes for roughing. Stich was also given a match penalty.
Shortly after the fight, Ondrej Roman gave the Czechs their first lead of the game, scoring the 2-1 goal with 9:01 left in the game. The Americans evened things up with 6:58 remaining, when Cade Fairchild scored on the power play.
The score stayed deadlocked at two until vanRiemsdyk’s heroics at 2:49 of overtime.
Shots on goal favoured the United States 48-27.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)