IIHF Men’s World Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Team USA vs. Team Czechia | 05/23/2024

Photo Credit INTERNATIONAL ICE HOCKEY FEDERATION (IIHF)

The U.S. and Czechia faced off yesterday in their 20th encounter in IIHF Men’s World Championship history. Team USA holds a record of seven wins, two overtime wins, one overtime loss, eight losses, and one tie against Czechia. Their previous matchup was in the quarterfinals of last year’s tournament, with Team USA winning that game against Czechia with a final 3-0 score.

TEAM HISTORY

Matt Boldy entered the game with an impressive 14 points, placing him fourth overall for a U.S. player in a single world championship. Patrick Kane currently holds that record with 20 points which was achieved in 2018, followed by Richard Roberge with 16 points in 1962, and Paul Coppo with 15 points, also in 1962. Notably, Rocco Grimaldi accumulated 14 points in the previous year’s world championship, a tally matched by Craig Smith in 2013.

Dostal is participating in only his second World Championship for the Czech team. In 2022, he played in just one game when the Czechs secured the bronze medal.

Starting Goaltenders:

USA – Charlie Lundgren

CZE – Lukas Dostal

Period 1

The match started with both teams showing impressive speed and agility, generating scoring opportunities within the first 20 minutes. Czechia had a total of 12 shots, while the U.S. had been kept to just seven, which was uncharacteristic for the American team that had generated plenty of scoring chances in the last few games.

Team USA demonstrated solid defense and started to make some offensive moves, causing some concern among the home team’s spectators. However, a turnover altered the momentum when David Pastrnak managed to shoot past Seth Jones, leading to a save by Charlie Lindgren. This set the tone for the first period, with additional breakaway opportunities for both Martin Necas and Pastrnak. The first period ended with no goals scored by either team.

Period 2

Early in the second period, Team USA had their first power play opportunity after David Pastrnak (CZE) was called for high sticking. Despite sustained pressure by the Americans on Czechia, they were unable to capitalize on the man advantage.

Later, after the successful defense against the U.S. power play, Czechia obtained a power play chance of their own when Trevor Zegras (USA) was sent to the box for tripping. They promptly converted seconds later, with a one-timer from the top of the zone deflecting off Pavel Zacha’s body and crossing the goal line for the opening goal of the game.

Approaching the end of the second period, the U.S. secured a late power play after Jan Rutta took a hooking minor. The Americans took the opportunity head-on, creating several scoring chances on the man advantage, including a close-range attempt by Cole Caufield that was thwarted by Czechia’s Lukas Dostal. Boldy and Tkachuk, who have been the top scorers in the tournament, had some promising opportunities, but Dostal managed to hold his ground.

Period 3

With 47 seconds remaining on the power play at the start of the final frame, the U.S. initiated a sequence of offensive strikes in the Czechian zone. Despite a rebound chance for Matt Boldy after a shot by Brady Tkachuk, Dostal’s exceptional goalkeeping skills once again kept the Americans from scoring.

Michael Eyssimont had a great opportunity on the net just past mid-period but Dostal managed to cover the puck once more. Caufield retrieved the puck behind the net and then passed to Eyssimont, who fired a wrist shot from the left dot.

In the final moments of the game, Trevor Zegras believed he had secured the equalizer for Team USA. However, in spite of successfully slotting the shot past a vulnerable Dostal, who was down after a collision involving Joel Farrabee, the play was nullified as the whistle had blown before the puck had crossed the goal line.

Despite these and several subsequent offensive efforts by the Americans, they were unable to score in the final minutes of the game, leading to a 1-0 defeat and elimination from the remaining tournament.

Notes:

  • Charlie Lindgren was named U.S. Player of the Game
  • Lindgren saved 27 out of 30 shots on goal (90.0% SV)
  • The U.S. team failed to convert on two power-play opportunities, whereas Czechia was one for one on their two power-play chances.
  • Johnny Gaudreau became the all-time U.S. career leader in the men’s worlds in both points and assists in Team USA’s game win over Kazakhstan on May 19.
  • Brock Nelson was just one goal shy of becoming the leading all-time American goal scorer in the world championship.
  • Team USA Shots on Goal – USA 36; CZE – 28
    • Period 1: USA – 7; CZE – 12
    • Period 2: USA – 19; CZE – 8
    • Period 3: USA – 10; CZE – 8

Top Three Players of the Game:

  1. Roman Cervenka (CZE) – 1 point (1a)
  2. David Spacek (CZE) – 1 point (1a)
  3. Pavel Zacha (CZE) – 1 point (1g)

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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