USA Hockey loses in World Hockey Championships quarterfinals


USA Hockey lost its quarterfinal matchup with Team Czech 4-3 after a furious last minute rally fell short. The Czechs were propelled by three power play goals in the second period, two of which followed a Justin Abdelkader five minute charging penalty.

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Czech led 4-1 after two periods, and held that lead for much of the third until Tyler Johnson scored two quick goals to make the game 4-3 with 50 seconds left. Despite a late rush, the Czechs prevailed. They will move on to face the winner of Canada vs Finland, who play later today.

USA prided themselves on being a high scoring, high percentage power play team, but it was the Czechs who took the play to them in those areas. Czech’s second period flurry of power play goals — scored by Tomas Hertl, Roman Cervenka, and Ondrej Nemec respectively — proved to be the difference in this game.

Both teams had no problem trading penalties —  USA had 41 PIM (25 for Abdelkader’s hit) and Czech had 14 PIM — but it was the Czech power play that thrived when it mattered most.

2014 has been a terrible year for USA Hockey, given the expectations at the onset of the Sochi Olympics. The program has gone from gold medal hopeful to early round fodder. Obviously the WHC isn’t quite as indicative of a country’s skill because of the NHL playoffs, but don’t think these other teams wouldn’t benefit from more pro talent either.

USA Hockey needs a full reassessment from the top down in how they select, manage and grow their rosters for future international competitions.

Until then, they’ll be easy pickings for top teams in the tournament.