IIHF Men’s World Championship Tournament Game Recap: Team USA | 05/16-17/2024

Photo Credit USA Hockey

On Thursday, May 16th, the U.S. Men’s National Team was set to compete against France in the fourth preliminary round of the 2024 IIHF Men’s World Championship in Ostrava, Czechia. After a narrow 5-4 overtime loss to Slovakia earlier this week, the U.S. team went into the game looking to rebound from that loss. In contrast, France entered the matchup fresh from a 4-2 victory over Poland.

USA vs. FRANCE

The United States and France are competing in the world championship for the 13th time, with Team USA coming away with the win in eleven out of the twelve previous matches. In the preliminary round of last year’s tournament, Team USA had secured a decisive 9-0 win over the French team.

Starting Goaltenders:

USA – Alex Nedeljkovic

FRA – Julian Junca

Team USA took an early lead just 45 seconds into the match when Matt Boldy skillfully set up Nelson at the left circle, resulting in a successful wrist shot from the slot. Matt Boldy would extend the U.S. lead by unleashing a strong shot from the left faceoff dot off a pass from Jake Sanderson (3:24). Luke Hughes was also credited with the assist.

Continuing their strong performance, Boldy scored his second goal of the game after making a precise shot from the top of the circles after a pass from Johnny Gaudreau (12:30), increasing TEAM USA’s lead to 3-0. Brock Nelson was credited with the secondary assist on the scoring play.

Gaudreau further widened Team USA’s lead to 4-0 with a shot from the bottom of the left circle after sustained pressure in the French zone. Zach Werenski and Nelson each contributed assists on the goal (18:07).

At the start of the second, Quentin Papillon replaced Julian Junca in the net for France. The middle frame was uneventful, with no change in score, and just two penalties on France for slashing (10:57) on Enzo Cantagallo and tripping (13:41) on Justin Addamo.

In the last frame, Shane Pinto took advantage of a turnover by the French between the circles, with an assist by Brady Tkachuk, and would put another one into the French net (17:52). Team USA secured the shutout win with a final score of 5-0.

Notes:

  • Team USA’s goaltender, Alex Nedeljkovic, stopped 10 shots in the net to earn the shutout.
  • Matt Boldy, who scored two goals and provided an assist, was named U.S. Player of the Game.
  • Team USA outshot France 54-10.
    • Period 1: USA – 16; FRA – 3
    • Period 2: USA – 23; FRA – 3
    • Period 3: USA – 15; FRA – 4
  • The U.S. was 0-4 on the power play, while France did not have a power play opportunity.
  • The U.S. delivered a flawless performance without incurring any penalties. Team USA is currently the least penalized team in the tournament, having been whistled for just five minor penalties through its first four games.

Top Three Players of the Game:

  1. Boldy (USA) – 3 points (2g, 1a)
  2. Nelson (USA) – 3 points (1g, 2a)
  3. Gaudreau (USA) – 2 points (1g, 1a)

Highlights:


USA vs. POLAND

On Friday, May 17th, the U.S. Men’s National Team competed against Poland in the preliminary round of the 2024 IIHF Men’s World Championship for the first time in nearly 30 years. Poland has returned to the IIHF Men’s World Championship after a 22-year absence.

Brock Nelson, who has scored 18 goals so far in this tournament, is on the cusp of equaling the record set by Russell “Buzz” Johnson as the leading American goal scorer in the world championship.

Johnny Gaudreau, boasting a notable record of 12 goals and 26 assists totaling 38 points, is only four points away from matching Patrick Kane for the most career points achieved by an American player in the world championship. With 26 assists, Gaudreau is just three assists shy of drawing level with Kane for the most assists by an American player in the tournament’s history.

Starting Goaltenders:

USA – Trey Augustine

POL – John Murray

Early in the first period, Poland appeared to catch the Americans off guard a bit as they opened the scoring just 2:48 into the contest. However, after a challenge by Team USA, it was determined the play was offside and resulted in a call of “No Goal” by officials.

Team USA created several promising opportunities in the first, with one notable chance coming from Luke Kunin on a shorthanded break. Unfortunately for the Americans, Poland’s goalie John Murray managed to save the shot keeping the game scoreless as the first period came to a close.

Midway through the second period, Michael Kesselring scored for Team USA, assisted by Brady Tkachuk and Alex Vlasic, giving the Americans a 1-0 lead at 10:11. Shane Pinto then took a shot from the right circle, which rebounded off Murray’s pad straight to Tkachuk, who put the puck into the net, with him being pushed into the net as well creating a stoppage of play.

After review by officials, the goal stood, and Jake Sanderson was credited with the assist. Team USA is currently ahead with a score of 2-0 as we close the second.

Cole Caufield extended the U.S. team’s lead to 3-0 just 1 minute and 11 seconds into the final period by expertly placing the puck into the upper corner of the net following a skillful backhand pass from Tkachuk. Later, Grzegorz Pasiut of Poland scored against Augustine from the faceoff circle (6:26). The score was now 3-1, in favor of Team USA.

However, Caufield (USA) responded, putting up his second goal of the game within three minutes, after converting on a rebound from the top of the crease. Tkachuk and Pinto each credited with the assist.

Team USA would skate away with the win after securing a final score of 4-1 against Poland.

Notes:

  • Augustine recorded 20 saves in net to pick up his first career men’s world championship victory.
  • Cole Caulfield was named the U.S. Player of the Game
  • Team USA outshot Poland, 57-21
    • Period 1: USA – 12; POL – 11
    • Period 2: USA – 25; POL – 5
    • Period 3: USA – 20; POL – 5
  • The U.S. was 0-1 on the power play, while Poland was 0-4.
  • Team USA moves to 10 points with the win

Top Three Players of the Game:

  1. Tkachuk (USA) – 4 points (1g, 3a)
  2. Caulfield (USA) – 2 points (2g)
  3. Pinto (USA) – 2 points (2a)

Up next for the Americans is Team Kazakhstan on Sunday, May 19th.

Karen Zehner

Credentialed Beat Writer covering the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. Diving into the world of slap shots, penalty kills, and the game we love. [@RunwithK] on socials.

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