“It’s not anything you can describe with words,” said captain Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “It’s disappointing obviously. Not what we came here to do.
“We’ve got to turn the cheek and make sure we are ready (for Saturday’s bronze medal game). We’ve got to come home with a medal. It’s not the one we wanted to come home with, but we’ve got to do it for our country.”
Canada really only has itself to blame for the loss. The team came out flat, pulled back on hits, looked lost in its own zone and couldn’t make a pass in the first period. It took until the third for a Canadian shooter to beat John Gibson of the Kitchener Rangers, and it was a controversial goal.
Spott’s line juggling and goalie change only produced so much, and couldn’t mask poor performances by some of Canada’s key players, namely Mark Scheifele, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan Murphy and Jonathan Huberdeau.
The U.S. came out strong and poised, not intimidated at all by playing the Canadians and now getting a chance to prove what American defenceman Seth Jones said at the beginning of the tournament — that it was the best team here.
“I didn’t want to sound cocky before the tournament, but I knew we had all the tools to win a gold medal this year,” said Jones. We’re not done yet. I didn’t mean for that to be cocky. I just have a lot of confidence in my teammates.”
Canada may now regret earning top spot in the group, giving it a bye through the quarter-finals and an extra day of rest The U.S. scored 16 goals in their last two games, and got its offence rolling — especially with nine against the Czechs.
“They simply outworked our hockey club,” said Spott. “There’s no excuse for that. When we did have chances John (Gibson, the American goalie) was there to make the save.”
While Canada’s top line — including captain Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — could do little right, Team USA’s captain Jake McCabe could do no wrong. The defenceman — a Buffalo Sabres draft picked — scored the first two goals of the game and assisted on the third.
The Americans chased Malcolm Subban from the game with two goals in the second to build a 4-0 lead. McCabe set up John Gaudreau’s first of the game — finishing a 2-on-1 with Leaf prospect Tyler Biggs — by going high to Subban’s glove side at 9:46 of the second.
But the goal that did in Subban — and maybe Canada — came at 12:44 on a Jim Vesey shot.
“At the start of the game we left him out to dry,” Nugent-Hopkins said of Subban. “On a few shots, he really didn’t have a chance. He battled hard for us all tournament, and by no means is it our fault.”
Gaudreau scored again — his seventh in three games — late in the third.
Jordan Binnington replaced Subban for his first game action and got busy right away as Canada took three penalties in the second as their game unwound.
The U.S. opened a 2-0 lead after one period thanks to a relentless forecheck and a pair of goals from McCabe.
McCabe, a Buffalo Sabres drafted pick, opened the scoring for the U.S. on a wrist shot from the point. The U.S. had Canada running around and got a couple of good scoring chances on Subban before McCabe finally clicked.
McCabe scored again on a similar play, this time his wrist shot was deflected through a screen to fool Subban.
Read below for a minute-by-minute game recap: