MOOSE JAW, Sask. - The University of Denver's Matt Donovan had an assist while incoming DU recruit Jason Zucker did not suit up as the U.S. National Junior Team candidates fell to the Czech Republic, 3-2, in a shootout here tonight at a sold-out Moose Jaw Civic Centre (2,821). We can only assume there was nothing better to do in Moose Jaw last night than come out and "boo" America.
The game was the final exhibition for Team USA prior to the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. The final U.S. National Junior Team roster will be announced today at 9 a.m. MST. Team USA will play its first game of the tournament on Saturday (Dec. 26) against Slovakia.
"It was a fast-paced game, but I think we got better as it went on," said Dean Blais, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. "We've got a few days now before the tournament begins to improve our chemistry and focus in on our goal."
The Czech Republic scored the lone first-period goal just over one minute into the contest when Tomas Kubalik slammed home a rebound during a goalmouth flurry. U.S. goalie Jack Campbell kept Team USA within one with back-to-back highlight-reel saves midway through the period. In the game's 10th minute, he batted down a high snapshot with the blade of his stick from a prone position and, off the next draw, made a post-to-post diving stop to thwart a wraparound attempt.
Chris Kreider's power-play goal two minutes into the second period tied the game, 1-1. The rebound tally marked his third goal in two exhibition games with Team USA. Donovan was credited with an assist on the play.
Campbell kept the game tied halfway through the frame, denying the Czech Republic's Stepan Novotny on a penalty shot before giving way to goalie Mike Lee for the remainder of the game. The Czech Republic retook the lead five minutes later when Michal Hlinka's backhand shot crawled over Lee's glove and into the net.
Team USA tied the game just seconds after its ninth power play of the night expired, as Bourque chipped a rebound over goalie Jakup Sedlacek's shoulder to knot the score, 2-2. The U.S. outshot the Czech Republic, 18-6, in the third period.
A shootout followed the overtime period. Team USA failed to score on its three attempts, while Hlinka buried a quick snapshot to give the Czech Republic the victory. Team USA’s Campbell and Lee combined for a total of 30 saves, while the Czech Republic’s Sedlacek earned his team’s player of the game award after stopping 42 shots.