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"New Year's Eve is still on"

BY: Thayne Hallyburton
“New Year’s Eve is still on.” Those were the words spoken by U.S. head coach, Dean Blais, following his team’s 4-1 loss versus a very competitive Finnish squad.

Blais wasn’t wrong, if both teams were to win out, putting Canada at 3-0 and the U.S. at 2-1 going into the match on the 31st then both teams would still mathematically have the chance to gain the bye into the semi-finals.  Whoever won the game in regulation would then advance straight to the semi-final. If the game were to go into overtime, no matter the outcome, Canada would advance based on points.

The loss was shocking for an American side that many had deemed the favourite heading into the tournament, especially after the drubbing Canada put on the Finns on Monday.

“Sometimes when you see that 8-1 score, you think that we are going to do the same thing but you gotta give them credit their goal tender played well,” Blais explained. They got to the net and we didn’t get to the net enough like Canada did the night before.”

The Americans seemed flat out of the gate. Finland matched them physically with open ice hits and was able to math their team speed as well, something that the Americans were said to have more than any other team in the tournament.

“I just didn’t think we paid the price to get to the net. When you look at our grade A chances, we didn’t have 15 quality chances in the slot and those were the areas that Canada took advantage of Finland and we didn’t do it. We talked about doing it and worked in practice on doing it, but you have to take that and put it into the game,” explained Blais.

The U.S. will get a day off tomorrow where coach Blais is sure to put them through a tough work out before returning to action Friday night against the Czech Republic.

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