In a penalty-filled goal festival on Jan. 2, Team USA defeated the Czech Republic 7-0 in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 World Junior Championship.
Most of the first period was occupied by calling penalties on either side of the ice, mostly small incidences like slashing and hooking. However, no team was able to cash in on all these prime opportunities until both Stepan Jenik and Dmitrij Jaskin were sitting in the sin bin for the Czechs. Then, Johnny Gaudreau put away his first goal of the game, assisted by two defensemen, Jacob Trouba and Seth Jones.
Speaking of defensemen, with Shayne Gostisbehere missing from the lineup due to the suspension brought about by his ‘man check’ against Slovakia, Patrick Sieloff stepped in as the sixth blueliner. He paired up with Trouba, a fellow Michigan native. The two have played together before and are best friends.
Gaudreau struck again on the power play, not long after the start of the second period, for his second of the game with helpers from JT Miller and Jake McCabe. Not even a minute later, Ryan Hartman put one home with help from Trouba and Cole Bardreau. That was the end of it for Czech goalie Patrik Bartosak between the pipes, though just like when Team USA caused a Slovakian goalie change, the replacement netminder Matej Machovsky may have actually had it worse.
After five consecutive roughing calls through the second period, including three in a row from the Czechs, Ryan Barber scored on another power play opportunity. Trouba brought up another assist on that goal, along with Alex Galchenyuk. Jones hooked up with Barber about four minutes later for the fifth goal of the day.
Then, when Gaudreau completed his hat trick before the end of the middle stanza, Miller and Jones gave him aid. Here’s a video of Gaudreau’s three goals:
Clearly in this game, 13 was a lucky number indeed. (Also, can we just not call Gaudreau ‘Johnny Hockey’? The nickname sounds cheesy and a little too forced for my taste. As Regina George would say, stop trying to make Johnny Hockey happen. It’s not going to happen.) Gaudreau plays with Boston College and was selected by the Calgary Flames in the later stages of the 2011 draft.
But completing a hat trick wasn’t enough for Team USA as they made it lucky seven in the third period with a JT Miller goal, once again helped out by Jones and Trouba. What seemed like 50 more penalties later, including a game misconduct for Martin Frk, the game was over, final score 7-0, Americans moving on to face Canada in the semifinals.
Trouba and Jones each put up four assists, which might have been enough to earn either of them player of the game honors–if not for Gaudreau’s hat trick. Five out of the seven goals were scored on the man advantage.
Before the game began, Trouba said he wanted to have a good game because it was his dad’s birthday. Well, happy birthday, Mr. Trouba!
However, there was almost an absurd amount of penalties called. I understand that the IIHF calls international competition games tighter than we’re used to from NHL action. Really, I do. But there’s a certain point where it starts becoming less about preserving fairness and player safety and more about apparently starting a parade to the penalty box. On the other hand, that did give the Americans copious chances to score power play goals.
Plus, the refs totally missed an opportunity to send a message about not stapling players into the corner when they’re vulnerable, on their knees, with their back to the action and getting back to their feet. Jones found himself in this exact situation at one point in the second period and he looked a little dazed after the hit, but was alright. Still, he could have been much worse, considering how close his head was to the dasher, but the player who hit him got just two minutes.
Hits like these are especially ironic when the game goes to commercial and they show the USA Hockey ad about preventing head injuries by executing checks properly.
Anyway, now the Americans prepare for a familiar foe: Team Canada, tomorrow at 4 a.m. Eastern. The winner of this game will go on to play in the gold medal game while the loser can still possibly win bronze.