Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Notes from WJC - USA vs. Latvia 12/29

Chris Kreider (#20): Kreider used both his speed and size to help him record the first Team USA hat trick of this year's tournament.  His final tally came on a 3rd period penalty shot that he received after being hooked down on a breakaway.  On the penalty shot, he skated in and snapped a wrist shot over the blocker of the retreating Latvian goalie.  He also scored on the power play in each of the first 2 periods, both times receiving assists from  Jordan Schroeder and Stepan.  If you want to nit pick and look for a downside of Kreider's day, it was that he was the only USA player not on the ice for an even strength goal.

Derek Stepan (#21, C): Stepan continues to lead Team USA after posting a 4-point game, two 3rd period goals  at even strength to match his 2 power play assists.  He now has 8 points (3g, 5a) through 3 games.  The thing I really liked about Stepan today was that both of his goals were scored on rebounds as he followed the puck whenever it went to the net.  That ability to convert on rebounds and go to the "blue" should help him make the next step when that time comes.

Ryan Bourque (#17): Bourque picked up the primary assist on Jason Zucker's tally that put Team USA up 2-0 just under 10 minutes into the game.  He also made 2 trips to the penalty box and was off for slashing when Gvido Kauss scored the lone Latvia goal on a 2nd period 5-on-3 man advantage.  Just a few minutes later, he made the return trip after being whistled for hooking.

USA 12, Latvia 1:  As expected, Team USA dominated play throughout the contest...Latvian goalie Janis Kanins had a rough day, facing 62 shots and stopping 50 of them...Jason Zucker and Danny Kristo scored 2 goals apiece and Jordan Schroeder picked up 4 assists...Team USA has its remaining preliminary round matchup on Thursday evening at 8pm ET.  The game will be broadcast live on the NHL Network.

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