Before the Canada vs. USA World Junior Hockey Championship gold medal game and the Edmonton Oilers vs Phoenix Coyotes NHL games were even started I was already thinking about how this article would look. It had the premise of Canada wins gold for a 6th straight year and the Oilers sucked as usual.
Then when the games started I had to start reconsidering what I was thinking. After the first period with the game tied at 2 it was still going to be Canada winning gold but I was very impressed by the USA team speed and determination and was going to have to add that in somewhere. Over in the other game the Oilers were doing what I expected at this time; losing 1-0.
1 minute into the second period the USA scored to go up 3-2. Just less than 3 minutes later Canada tied it up for the second time. It was at this point that the USA won the gold medal in my opinion. They pulled their starting goalie, Mike Lee, and replaced him with Jack Campbell. That change seemed to buoy the American team and until the last 3 minutes of the third period, Campbell stoned the Canadians at every chance they had. On the other side, Canadian starter Jake Allen was equally as shaky as Lee and finally was replaced after the 5th USA goal at 6:23 of the third period by Martin Jones. With under 14 minutes to go in a gold medal game was too late to be making that change. Canadian Coach Willie Desjardins threw a cold Jones to the wolves so to speak and I think Jones was at least partially at fault on the OT winner by the USA’s John Carlson. Goalies in any sport are coached with the understanding that nothing beats you short side. You have to at least have that covered. The winning goal went short side. I give a hat tip to USA coach Dean Blais for making the change he did when he did. Congratulations to team USA for a great tournament. We look forward to beating you next year when the tournament is on your home soil.