Sunday, December 26, 2010

US Pull One Out In OT

Some how the US were able to pull out a win in a very tight and defensively played game against Finland. Finland i known for playing this style of hockey. Unlike the US the will sit back and defend rater that try and score 8 goals a game. The USA have far more skill and speed then the Fins and that is really how they win this game tonight

Nick Bjugstad celebrates after scoring the game-winning 
goal in overtime
(Photo Credit to USA Hockey and HHOF IIHF Images on Ice) 

The Americans, despite getting out played and out shot, took the lead in the first on the power play. After a very good looking PP a few minutes prior this one, the US had some very good chances but could not solve Finland goalie Joni Ortio. They finally beat him on a beautiful shot from the point by Nick Faulk. He took a pass from Jon Merrill and off his back foot drilled a slapshot past Ortio's blocker to give the Yanks the 1-0 lead.

BU's Charlie Coyle was on the ice for the goal. He would later in the second and third periods have some very good scoring chances, but could not get any of them past Ortio. One of these chances came on a two on one where Coyle's shot hit Orito in the mask. Generally when this happens the goalie has no clue where the puck is or came from. 

That was all the score in the first. 

Finland tied the game in the second. A Miscue by USA goalie Jack Campbell, lead to a turnover behind the net. There, a Finish player dished it out to Toni Rajala who found the back of the net, tying the game.

Two minutes later the US re-gained the lead. Chris Brown made a nice play in the half wall to knock the puck louse for Denver's Jason Zucker. Zucker wasted no time and rifled a shot, top corner over the glove of Ortio. The shot could not have be more prefect. With only a small window of space and net to shoot at, Zucker did not miss and may be one of the top ten straight shots that have ever seen go in. 

The lead held up throughout the rest of the period. 

Less then five minutes into the third the US almost upped their lead. Kyle Palmieri hit the post on a break-a-way and the rebound was also stopped.

Not scoring that goal was huge. Finland gained momentum and then tied the game instead of the US being up by a commanding 3-1 lead. In was another Campbell miscue behind the goal lead to Iiro Pakarinen's clean up tally tied the 2-2.

To the the surprise of a lot of people the game went to overtime. 

Kick Bjugstade was the hero for the Americans in the extra time. With 1:52 left in overtime (the game would have gone to a shootout if it was still tied after overtime) Bjugstade picked up the puck at the blue line. It was kind of a broken play as he move in toward Ortio and the net. The was no one to who was open to pass to,  so he shot . It was nothing near the caliber of the Zucker shot, but yet it still had enough steam to make it's way under the armpit of Orito. Once it did it bounced to the ice, in the crease and  rolled over the goal line into the net, giving the US the win. Also they picked up two points in the WJC (World Junior Championships) standings. After the goal Bjugstade was greeted by his teammates and was also mobbed by them.

The USwill take on Slovakia Tuesday night at 8:00. Like all the other game the US play, it will be on the NHL Network.

Video Highlights from TSN 

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