IIHF Men’s World Championship Tournament Game Recap: Team USA vs Team Latvia | 05/21/2024

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Regardless of the result of the upcoming seventh and final preliminary round match against Latvia, Team USA has guaranteed a place in the quarterfinals for the 13th consecutive year. The opponent for Team USA in the quarterfinals, along with the game’s location, will only be determined after all of Tuesday’s matches have concluded. The United States is coming off a recently secured win of 10-1 win against Kazakhstan this past Sunday, May 19th.

Charlie Lindgren, who was recently added to the U.S. Men’s National Team roster, had joined the team on the ice for the first time Sunday afternoon, just before Team USA’s game against Kazakhstan. He will be chosen as the starting goaltender for the Americans in today’s game.

TEAM HISTORY

The United States and Latvia compete in their 18th encounter in the IIHF Men’s World Championship with Tuesday’s game. Historically, Team USA holds a record of 11 wins, 1 overtime win, 1 overtime loss, 3 losses, and 1 tie against Latvia. The most recent clash transpired during last year’s tournament in the bronze-medal match, where Latvia emerged victorious with a final of 4-3. The United States is the sole country to have reached the gold-medal game in every major world championship so far this season.

Brady Tkachuk currently holds the position of captain for Team USA. Complementing Tkachuk’s leadership, Brock Nelson, Seth Jones, and Zach Werenski each serve as alternate captains for the team. Collectively, these three individuals have participated in a combined total of eight previous IIHF Men’s World Championships.

Starting Goaltenders:

USA – Charlie Lundgren

LAT – Kristers Gudlevskis

1st Period

Team USA scored its first goal to take a 1-0 lead early in the opening frame. Cole Caufield caused a turnover in the neutral zone and then fed Brady Tkachuk, who found the back of the net with a precise shot from the right circle (1:23). Shortly after, Team USA seemed to score again, but the goal made by Gavin Brindley was disallowed after a Latvian Coach’s Challenge (2:44).

Later, Zach Werenski extended Team USA’s lead to 2-0 after Caufield set him up in the slot. Werenski scored with a clever deke with a backhanded shot that made its way past Latvian goalie Kristers Gudlevskis. Shane Pinto was also credited with the secondary assist (13:20).

2nd Period

In the middle frame, the Americans seized an early Powerplay opportunity after Oskars Cibulskis (LAT) was called for slashing (2:01) . Caufield extended the lead for the U.S. to 3-0 with a deftly executed wrist shot into the top right corner, aided by a blind pass off the stick of from Matt Boldy. Tkachuk was acknowledged for the secondary assist on that goal (2:34).

Shortly thereafter, Renars Krastenbergs of Latvia narrowed the score to 3-1 with a precisely executed wrist shot following an odd-man rush (3:35).

Brock Nelson and Trevor Zegras were penalized for tripping towards the end of the period at 14:36, giving Team Latvia the man advantage. Despite facing a challenging two-minute five-on-three situation, the U.S. effectively defended, preserving their 3-1 lead as we concluded 40 minutes in regulation.

3rd Period

It was 15 seconds into the third period when Boldy scored with a gorgeous backhanded shot from the slot, putting Team USA ahead 4-1. Werenski and Seth Jones were both credited with the assist on the goal.

Latvia answered back when Eduards Tralmaks scored off a rebound (4:44). Just moments afterward, Roberts Mamcics (LAT) narrowed the gap even more by adding one more after capitalizing on a shot from the point that deflected off a U.S. stick. Team USA is now ahead by just one goal with a score now of 4-3, as Team USA continued to hold on to the lead (5:00).

Undeterred, Team USA increased their lead once more as Caufield scored his second goal of the game with a short-side shot from a wraparound. Later, Kevin Hayes (USA) and Martins Lavins (LAT) each get snagged for Unsportsmanlike Conduct sending both sides to the 4-4. However, neither side had netted a goal.

Joel Farabee clinched the victory by netting an empty-net shorthanded goal in the closing minute, sealing Team USA’s 6-3 triumph. This marked Farabee’s inaugural goal in the tournament.

Notes:

  • Matt Boldy was named U.S. Player of the Game
  • Team USA secured their fourth consecutive victory and is set to compete in the tournament quarterfinals on Thursday, May 23rd.
  • The U.S. team scored once out of three powerplay opportunities, whereas Latvia did not convert any of their six powerplay chances.
  • Lindgren saved 27 out of 30 shots on goal (90.0% SV)
  • Team USA has maintained a flawless record in penalty kill situations, having not conceded a power play goal in the first seven games of the world championship.
  • Team USA accumulated a total of 18 minutes in penalty time, which is notably high considering their track record of avoiding the penalty box for the majority of the tournament thus far.
  • Matt Boldy (14 points), Brady Tkachuk (13 points), and Johnny Gaudreau (11 points) are currently the Men’s World Championship Tournament’s top three leading scorers.
  • After scoring two goals within 16 seconds in the third period, narrowing the American lead from 4-1 to 4-3, Latvia was unable to bridge the gap further and was consequently eliminated from Worlds as a result of today’s game.
  • Team USA Shots on Goal – USA 43; LAT – 30
    • Period 1: USA – 18 ; LAT – 8
    • Period 2: USA – 14; LAT – 10
    • Period 3: USA – 11; LAT – 12

Top Three Players of the Game:

  1. Caulfied (USA) – 4 points (22, 2a)
  2. Tkachuk (USA) – 2 points (1g, 1a)
  3. Tralmaks (LAT) – 2 points (1g, 1a)

Highlights:

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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