Who: Team USA (B2) vs Team Czech Republic (A3)
What: 2019 World Juniors Quarterfinal Game #3
When: Right goddamn now. But specifically around 8pm EST
Where: Victoria, BC. The Thunderdome.
Why: Because we’re about to kick your fuckin’ ass.
And here we go. The preliminary round is over and thank god. It was a pretty up and down first round for Team USA. Through the first 2 games and 45 minutes of the 3rd game, this team didn’t look very dominant. It looked like they were sort of just going through the motions out there and figured they’d get to the spot they’re in right now because they’re Team USA. It was downright ugly at times. But after making that ridiculous 4-goal comeback in the 3rd period to force overtime against the Swedes and then a complete ass whoopin’ against Finland, this is the Team USA that we all expected to see in this tournament. I mentioned before that I think a lot of Team USA’s early downfalls can be attributed to wearing those disgusting ass motocross looking sweaters from the Olympics through the first 3 games. It’s no surprise that the team looked completely different against Finland whilst rocking the 1960 throwback uniforms on New Years Eve. And now tonight against the Czechs?
They’re going back with the 60s.
Now here’s the thing–no game in this tournament is a guaranteed win. Just look at Sweden who got upset by Switzerland in the first quarterfinal game today. I don’t think anybody saw that coming, especially not Sweden. So if you don’t show up to kick ass, well then you’re going home tonight. But the fact that Team USA is wearing the 1960’s throwbacks tells me that they are out to kick some goddamn ass tonight. I’m not saying it’ll be a 9-3 win like last year’s bronze medal game between these two teams, but it should definitely be a win.
I already mentioned today in my Quarterfinals Preview Blog that if the Czechs are going to have a chance in this game, it’ll come down to Filip Zadina finally showing up and putting a few in the back of the net. But that was before I knew for certain that Team USA was wearing the throwbacks and Jack Hughes would be back in the lineup. Now I don’t even think a Filip Zadina coming out party can help them. So let’s just get right to the live blog.
Follow along on Twitter @BarstoolJordie for up to minute highlights/updates. And then I’ll be updating the blog at the end of each period throughout the game.
1st Period Updates: USA 1, Czech Republic 0
Still no score yet but it is VERY apparent that Jack Hughes is officially back. Seems pretty well rested to me. Holy shit this kid is fun to watch. Every time he’s on the ice, he’s making something happen. Absolute game changer.
Have I mentioned Jack Hughes enough yet? Because I’m about to mention him again after this unreal play he makes to set up Noah Cates for the first goal of the game.
This fucking kid, man. Like I said–every time he’s on the ice, something is happening. This is why he’s going to get picked with the 1st overall pick in this upcoming draft. Two way hockey. Makes the play in the defensive zone to strip the puck, gets shot out of a cannon through the neutral zone, and then threads the needle to Cates who finishes it off with a beauty. Let’s. Heckin. Go.
And that’s how the 1st period will end. The boys were buzzin for a solid 20 right there. Still looking a little shaky in their own zone but that was the exact type of start USA needed in this game.
2nd Period Updates: USA 1, Czech Republic 0
We interrupt this Team USA Live Blog to bring you an update in the Canada vs Finland game. Canada was up 1-0 with a minute to play in regulation but with 46 seconds to go, Eeli Tolvanen banks this puck off Aleksi Heponiemi to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, Canada had a chance to put this game away and avoid the scare after being awarded a penalty shot. But Max Comtois went out to take said penalty shoot and it…well it didn’t go his way.
And then a few moments later, a broken stick for Noah Dobson in one end of the ice immediately led to the Finns sticking a dagger in Team Canada’s tournament. Toni Utunen gets the game winner.
Absolutely insane finish to that game. Canada was less than a minute away from advancing to the semifinals and now they won’t medal for the first time as hosts of this tournament. What an unreal game. It’ll be Finland vs Switzerland in the semis. Can’t imagine many people saw that one coming.
***Now we go back to the USA live blog where Josh Norris puts Team USA up 2-0***
This is just what Team USA does. If you turn the puck over, they will make you pay and they will make you pay quickly. They’re just too lethal if you give them the chances. 2-0 Team Freedom.
And that’s the end of the 2nd. Obviously 20 minutes is still a ton of time left in this game but Team USA hasn’t shown many signs of weakness this game, if any at all. 20 minutes to close this one out. I’m sure that Team USA will see what happened to the Canadians during the intermission and they’ll put the foot on the gas even harder for this final period. Close it out here, boys.
3rd Period Updates: USA 3, Czech Republic 1
Well shit. While we were all celebrating Canada getting eliminated from the tournament, the Czechs somehow managed to make this one a game. Necas to Kaut and a leaky goal gets past Cayden Primeau’s legs.
A little under 8 to go in regulation. As we’ve seen time and time again this tournament, no lead is safe. Buckle up.
Under a minute left. Empty net for the opposing team. Desperately trying to hold on to a 1-goal lead….we saw how that one worked out for Team Canada earlier tonight. Would it be the same fate for Team USA here against the Czech Republic?
No it would not. Because Sasha Chmelevski sends this puck into the empty net and Team USA holds on to take down the Czechs and they now advance to the semifinals. Sweden is already out. Canada is already out. Now USA will face the winner of Russia vs Slovakia. I know that Slovakia is the easier route to gold but you’re not a red-blooded American if you don’t want to beat the Russians on the way there.
Thanks for following along all night. See everybody on Friday.