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Cole Caufield Delivers The Overtime Dagger Against The Czechs As USA Hockey Continues Their Quest For World Domination At The World Juniors

Who: USA vs Czech Republic

What: Final game of the 2020 WJC Preliminary Round

When: 1pm EST (NHL Network)

Where: Ostrava, Czech Republic

Why: Because it's time for the Czechs to say hello to the Bad Guys. 

Gambling Odds via Bovada:

If this were any other year, today's game against the Czechs wouldn't scare me in the slightest. This would be an easy 4-5 goal win for the Americans and they'd be able to just cruise their way into the quarterfinals. But since the Czechs are hosting this year's tournament, this is going to be a tough environment for USA to play in if they don't take control of the game right off the first puck drop. We saw it happen with the Russians losing to Team Czech Republic already this tournament. And even tough this Czech team isn't nearly as deep as Team USA, they're still skilled and pesky enough to turn this game into a dog fight. 

Not to celebrate an injury or anything but it's fortunate for Team USA that one of the best players on the Czech roster, Jakub Lauko (BOS '18), is done for the tournament. So the only other player they really have to watch out for today is Jan Mysak, who looks like he could be playing himself into a 1st round draft pick this coming June. But after beating the Russians to open the tournament, the Czechs lost to Germany and Mysak didn't have a point. 

Meanwhile Team USA looks like they're starting to hit their stride since the 3rd period of that Germany game. The penalty killing has been better, the shot blocking has been better, the goaltending has been better, and then there's also Trevor Zegras (ANA '18) who has 7 apples so far this tournament. I'm pretty sure that at least 6 of those have been primary assists. 

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That Zegras-Drury-Kaliyev line will be the party starters for Team USA. Once they get themselves going, the rest of the team follows. It would be nice to see if they can get anything out of Cole Caufield and that line today so they can get some confidence buzzing before the quarterfinals. If they can get production out of 3 lines today? Then the Czechs won't be able to keep up with that depth and USA can definitely cover the 2.5. 

Win today and USA ends their group play with the top seed out of Group B. That could change tomorrow after Canada plays the Czechs but no matter what, a win today guarantees a top 2 finish out of Group B. Go out there and take care of business, and apologize in advance for ruining the Czech's party this year. 

Make sure to follow along on Twitter (@BarstoolJordie) for real time highlights/updates. And then I'll be in here between periods to update the blog. LIVE BLOG is officially activated. 

End of 1st: USA 1, Czech Republic 2

Pinto Beans!! What a tournament so far for Shane Pinto (OTT). His 4th game of the tourney and here he is stuffing the back of the net for the 4th time. 

This one was on the powerplay after a delightfully crispy apple from Nick Robertson. But yeah, 4 goals and 3 assists so far for Pinto Beans. Go Sioux. 

But on just their 2nd shot of the period, somehow this Libor Zabransky shot made it's way through to the net and we're back to a tie game. 

No idea how this shot ended up on cage but the only reasonable explanation is that the Czechs are using magnets or something. 

The one thing that was going to absolutely kill Team USA today is if they continued their favorite trend of taking way too many fucking penalties and then allowing the Czechs to gain a ton of momentum on the powerplay. And guess what? That's exactly what happened at the end of the period here. USA takes two quick penalties to put the Czechs on a 5v3 powerplay and it's Libor Zabransky with his 2nd goal of the game. 

Extra sauce provided by Michal Teply here. But yeah. Now the Czechs have all the momentum, the crowd is very much in the game, and that period couldn't have possibly ended any worse for the Americans. Good news is there are still 40 minutes left to figure it out. 

End of 2nd: USA 3, Czech Republic 2

And just when you need them the most, the Zegras-Kaliyev duo deliver. Weird play here from start to finish but Trevor Zegras draws a penalty after a Czech stick gets caught in his skates. 

After drawing the penalty, he's on his ass and he still finds a way to get that puck over to Arthur Kaliyev. And then this shot from Kaliyev drills the back bar for his 4th goal of the tournament. 

But that sick, sick bastard Trevor Zegras wasn't even close to finished yet. Because the tournament's leading scorer (who hasn't scored any goal of his own yet) had an even filthier assist to add to his resume. The kid has been a highlight reel all tournament so far and this one is right up at the top. 

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Are you fucking kidding me, Trevor Zegras?

He is a legitimate insane person. His 9th assist of the tournament. Pretty sure all of them are primary assists. He's a freak. He's the sauciest kid alive. Trevor Zegras is an American Hero. 

20 minutes to go. Up by 1. Time to stomp on their throats. 

End of 3rd: USA 3, Czech Republic 3

What a wild series of events so far in this 3rd period. First up, there was a delayed penalty on Team USA. The Czechs pulled their goalie for an extra attacker and had USA pinned in their own zone 6v5. And it looked like they tied the game with this bomb from Kubicek from the point. 

But the goal was eventually overturned for goaltender interference. And the Czech fans simply couldn't believe it. Their souls were ripped out of their bodies and their spirit was broken. 

But just a couple minutes later, the Czechs were on another powerplay because Team USA is quite literally addicted to taking penalties at the World Juniors. And on that powerplay, the puck most certainly did not lie and the Czechs finally got that 3rd goal they were looking for. 

And with that goal, Old Man Svoboda's will to live was immediately restored. 

Some wild scenes in Ostrava, Czech Republic tonight. You just knew that this game was going to end up being a dog fight. 7 minutes left right now. Game is tied at 3. Need some more Zegras magic. 

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But that was all she wrote for regulation. Game tied 3-3 and this bitch is heading to overtime. 

Overtime: USA 4, Czech Republic 3

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…COLE CAUFIELD HAS ENTERED THE CHAT

I've been saying for the past few games now that Team USA needed to get Cole Caufield going before heading into the elimination rounds. And it looks like he picked the most important time of the tournament so far to get his first goal. What a beautifully silky smooth give and go between Caufield and his Wisconsin teammate Alex Turcotte. 

Goal Caufield! A true Short King. What a moment. We're on to the quarterfinals, folks. It'll either be as the 2-seed out of Group B is Canada gets a win in any fashion against the Czechs tomorrow. Or it could be as the 1-seed out of Group B if the Czechs can pull off the upset. They already upset the Russians this tournament and took USA to overtime, so a Canada win isn't even close to guaranteed. 

USA Hockey is Do or Die. 

@BarstoolJordie