Morning all. I'm actually amazed that I'm up right now. I'm in my fleece hockey pants, and my 1980 USA jersey to watch the gold medal game between USA and Sweden. We all know how this works!!! I'll blog while I watch the game, and throw my thoughts in there. Thank god it was on at 8, there was no way I was going to wake up for a 4:30 am game.
The only difference between this one and other games that I've live blogged, I've got a cup of coffee in my 1980 USA mug, instead of a beer. Ha Ha.
Looks like it's puck drop time.
I'm also trying to put the teams that have the rights to these players in parenthesis when I first mention them. I apologize that I can't find all of the Swedish players
I thought this during the Russia vs Sweden game, I see the cheerleaders behind the USA goal. Wouldn't that be distracting? They're right behind the glass too. Ah well.
First penalty of the game comes at 4:43 on Sweden. So far the US has been in control of this game. This is a great opportunity to take the lead.
Make that a 2-Man advantage after a high stick on Arvidsson of Sweden for 35 seconds.
No goals for the USA. Lundstrom (St. Louis), the Swedish goalie looks very sharp at this point in the game. And on the first commercial break, I need more coffee.
So far, USA is definitely getting the better opportunities. This game remains tied thanks to Lundstrom. Shots 11-4 in favor of the US at this point.
US is now going to be shorthanded. Gaudreau (Calgary) takes a hooking penalty with just under 6:30 minutes left in the period. Big test for the US, Sweden has the top power play in this years tournament.
I'm watching the Swedish team trying to deke around the US defense. The US defense is making a lot of good poke checks to break up rushes by Sweden. USA kills the penalty to Gaudreau.
As the period comes to a close, with 29 seconds left, Cole Bardreau (free agent, Fairport, NY native) takes a goaltender interference penalty.
The penalty will carry over to the 2nd period as the first ends with no score.
My thoughts before I brew some more coffee (Still can't believe I'm actually awake right now on a Saturday). Both teams right now are playing pretty tight hockey. Even though the US has the edge in shots, the Swedish team isn't giving the American's much room. Same thing for the Swedish team. They don't have a lot of space on the ice. The announcers kept referring to being nervous. I tend to agree, but I feel that this is Sweden's game plan, especially after watching the semifinal against Russia. I expect the US to try to open things up.
At this point, I know I've seen a lot of hype surrounding Jake McCabe, but at this point, he hasn't really floored me yet. I'm actually liking what I'm seeing from John Gaudreau. He's got great vision, makes smart passes, and seems to have a good hockey sense on the ice. I look forward to watching him more as this game.
Start of the 2nd; Sweden 0- USA 0
1-0 Sweden Power Play
Gibson (Ducks) had made some good saves, but Seth Jones (draft eligible 2013) couldn't manage to get his stick on the puck. Filip Sandberg got his stick on it alone in front of Gibson, and put it high glove side to give Sweden the 1-0 lead.
US is responding with getting good pressure on the Swedish team, trying to tie this game up.
4 on 4 hockey for the next 2 minutes, so there will be lot of open ice.
McCabe (Sabres) just did a fantastic job breaking up a 2 on 1. Sweden didn't even get a shot on goal. He made a great poke check to prevent the scoring chance.
No score on the 4 on 4.
1-1 Tie Game
Rocco Grimaldi (Panthers) scores to tie up the game. This game has been all USA since the Swedish team scored. Grimaldi hit 2 posts in the 1st period, and he just slipped the puck between the post and Lundstrom to tie the game.
Lundstrom is just a wall of a goalie. He just made a phenomenal save to stop the US from taking a 2-1 lead.
Grimaldi get's his second on a deflection from Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg). Trouba took a wrist shot on net, hit Grimaldi and the Swedish defender and it goes past Lundstrom to give the US the lead. Just over halfway through the game.
USA heading to the power play after a hooking call on Sweden- De La Rose (draft eligible 2013).
Great save by Gibson after the Swedish team got a great breakaway. Keeping the US lead. No goal for the US on the De La Rose penalty.
The US just have several great opportunities to try to give themselves a 3-1 lead, by Lundstrom continues to make huge saves to shut down the US offensive attack. This game has really opened up in the last 5 minutes.
End of 2- USA 2- Sweden-1
I can't really add anything else to this blog at the moment. The Swedish team started the scoring early, but afterwards, the period was pretty much controlled by the Americans. Grimaldi found a great time to start scoring, getting his first 2 in the tournament. The US is now 20 minutes away from beating the defending champion Sweden team...
But there's a lot of hockey left.
2-1 USA- Start of the 3rd period
JT Miller (Rangers) had a great chance that got blocked. USA trying hard to extend their lead. Murphy (Phoenix) just followed up with a good slap shot, the Lundstrom stopped.
I like the fact that almost 5 minutes into the third, the US isn't trying to sit on the lead. They are continuing to try to put pressure on the Swedes. The clock continues to tick for the Swedish team.
Great save by Gibson on the wrap around chance for Sweden. Phenomenal split going post to post to keep the US 1 goal lead.
Tripping penalty on the US. Sweden is getting a good opportunity to tie up this game with 14 minutes to go in the 3rd. Grimaldi takes the penalty.
Great penalty kill for the US. The minute that the puck hits a US players stick, it goes down the ice. Plus, the US penalty killers are making sure that they don't give the Swedish team any time to set up their power play.
US had a great 2 on 1 with JT Miller and Galchenyuk (Montreal), but Lundstrom keeps it a 2-1 game. Lundstrom is currently keeping the Swedes in this game.
7:26 left in the game... Sweden is slowly running out of time.
Sweden is starting to play some desperate hockey. 2 great opportunities and 2 great saves by Gibson. USA needs to be careful if they want to hang onto this lead, and the gold. Just under 6 minutes left.
3:03 to go in the game. Grimaldi is really trying to get the hat trick right now.
1:50- USA still hanging to a 2-1 lead. The past minute, the Swedish team was unable to even get out of their own end. USA is keeping the pressure on Sweden, but not over committing, and keeping 2 defensemen back to prevent any odd man rushes.
Lundstrom is on the bench with 1:35 left- Little early, but there is no tomorrow for either team.
16.7 seconds left, and the USA gets an empty net goal!!! 3-1 USA Trocheck (Panthers) Puts the exclamation point on the US victory.
Final- USA 3- Sweden 1
Last thoughts, great game by both teams. The Sweden team played a great game, and kept this close throughout. However, my favorite player from this game was Lundstrom, the goalie for Sweden. I think we can expect big things from him in the NHL when he starts to play for Blues.
Final results from the IIHF Tournament
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