This is one of the highlights of the developmental player calendar. The U.S. and Canada will play thrice starting tomorrow at 4 ET/1 PT. All the games will be on FastHockey for eight bucks a pop (unless you buy game credits in bulk, and then you get a modest discount).
The U.S. lost the gold medal in overtime at the 2013 World Championships. That may sound like a harsh formulation (surely Canada won it?) but when you give up a tying goal with twelve seconds to go, you’ve blown the game. The squad will have to show resilience and resolve to come back from that difficult loss. Helpfully not too many on the ice will remember it, since the vast majority of top players including the starting goaltender have aged out. Key returnees include Cianfarano who scored six points in the WJC and put up 35 goals for NSA last year. Wellhausen also acquitted herself well and is the only SSM member who put up big-ish numbers on last year’s Prep squad. These players need to adjust to being full-time, first line options now. Maddie Rolfes led the tournament in unadjusted plus/minus. Miano and Brand will be preparing to step into the huge skate-shaped holes left by Pankowski on NAHA white. The young goaltending, however, is probably the biggest concern. Bugalski has more international experience in goal but my sense is O’Neil, coming out of the hothouse that is Minnesota public, can contend.
Much will be learned from watching the games, which is how I always finish these previews, and once I report back on Friday I will have a better sense of how the team gels, and also something to say about Canada’s players.