Saturday, December 26, 2009

USA Beats Slovakia; Stepan Named Captain

Last night team USA defeated Slovakia 7-3 in their opening game of the U20 World Junior Championship being held north of the border in Saskatchewan, Canada. Team USA got down early 2-0 after multiple penalties but rallied for a big win.

"I was happy with our resiliency after falling behind early," said Dean Blais, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. "We created a lot of scoring chances, and showed a lot of poise after those two quick goals."

Wisconsin Badger Derek Stepan had a big night. First he was named Captain and then went out and had a hand in three of the seven US goals. Stepan had an assist on Team USA's first goal by John Carlson, added a goal of his own in the second, and had a beautiful assist on a goal by Danny Kristo later in the period. He was also tied for a team best +4 on the night. John Ramage and Jake Gardiner were held scoreless in the opener but it sounds as if Ramage made a nice play on Kristo's goal (a goal Stepan had an assist), and probably should have been awarded an assist.

Here is's description of the goals scored with Badger players involved:

Team USA's first goal-"Derek Stepan wins an offensive-zone draw back to John Carlson, and he blasts a shot from the right point through traffic at 9:34. U.S. still trails 2-1."

Team USA's third goal-"Great puck movement around the perimeter. Derek Stepan gets the pass above the circles in the middle, wires a wrister over Ciliak's glove at 5:39 to put the U.S. up 3-2."

Team USA's fifth goal-"Great play John Ramage to hold the puck in at the point. Derek Stepan grabs the puck and makes a fabulous pass to a cutting Danny Kristo and he chips the puck past Ciliak to make it 5-3."

Here were the lines from last night:

29 Jerry D'Amigo -21 Derek Stepan (C) - 8 Danny Kristo
23 Kyle Palmieri - 17 Ryan Bourque - 19 Jordan Schroeder (A)
22 A.J. Jenks - 20 Chris Kreider - 26 Jeremy Morin
16 Jason Zucker - 9 Philip McRae - 10 Tyler Johnson
14 Luke Walker

5 David Warsofsky - 11 John Carlson (A)
24 Cam Fowler - 18 Brian Lashoff
28 Jake Gardiner - 2 John Ramage
4 Matt Donovan

30 Mike Lee
1 Jack Campbell

Team USA will take on Switzerland Sunday at 3PM Central Time. The game can be seen live on NHL network in the United States.