The Americans who I quickly determined the tournament's most complete today looked just like it today in what some would consider a dismantling versus Canada. The three S's: Speed,size and skill all favoured the Americans as today it was made abundantly clear that they did not need the Minnesota Miracle Man himself Gordon Bombay to propel the troops against Canada.
I think whichever side of the ledger Ducharme turned to between the pipes would've been viewed as a controversial decision. Connor Ingram is who received the nod but in retrospect Carter Hart would've been the apt choice as now he'll have to shake out the cob webs as I foresee no scenario where Ducharme can turn back to Ingram in the quarterfinals. The most staunch Ingram supporters will have you believe that he settled down as the game progress but the summary I took out of his performance was that he struggled handling the nerves early and nothing indicated we wouldn't be in for a repeat showing in whomever Canada draws in the all important quarters. I'm no goaltending expert and don't pretend to be one but what I was able to discern from Connor's technical ability is often times he stands too deep in the net and I lost count how many times the Americans, particularly Minnesota Wild prospect Jordan Greenway crashed the net without getting challenged in the crease area. Naturally Carter Hart entered this pinnacle contest peeved that the staff didn't show the confidence in his abilities. Well Carter lest not worry anymore, he'll be the individual all eyes will be pointed to on January 2nd.
Ray Ferraro the colour commentator for this prestigious championship stipulated on several occasions that Canada's advantage over the States was the speed game. Unless Ray and I were watching two different games, the decisive skating advantage gets awarded to the Americans. Taylor Raddysh is a shooter, not a skater but just because pristine skating isn't in your repertoire doesn't excuse not engaging in the competition. The four goal accolades that he received versus the Latvians was the worst thing that could happen to the player due to the fact that began to develop the mindset that everything will go in without moving his feet. Charlie McAvoy and Ryan Lindgren, two of the U.S.A's best defensive defenders take pride in positional work that when it comes to somebody like Raddysh they know that if they're in his face they'll have neutralized his one weapon, that being his shot. Against inferior opponents where there's more time and space available Taylor will flourish but pertaining to elite oppositition as we saw today it becomes perfectly clear why his name was ommited from the Summer Camp roster. On a more positive note upfront, I loved the adjustment made by the coaching staff midway through the game flanking Tyson Jost alongside Dylan Strome and Michael McLeod. Strome for a lack of a better word was astute this afternoon but the one individual who really seized the increased icetime was Michael McLeod of the Mississauga Steelheads. Prior to roster selection in the forums I was perusing the consensus appeared to be that Michael was renowned for his skating abilities but had NO offensive flare. At twenty eight points through twenty six games perhaps I let this false rhetoric cloud my judgment because from what I saw he is a player who possesses the proper amount of offensive creativity to fit in just fine with Jost and his former minor hockey teammate Strome. That's not to say Dubois was poor in this game. Wher Dubois thrives is with his legendary hand eye coordination and is a handful in front of the net on a power play. Goaltenders and opposing defenceman have to respect his ability to make seam to seam passes with little time and space because if not you get burned. Essentially he needs little room in the office to get to work By saying all of that I have yet to see a complete enough to justify the scorching Columbus Blue Jackets selecting him third overall in the 2016 entry draft.
As I've said in so many other words previously I just haven't been impressed with the complexion of this defence make up. I analyze the list of d-man 1 through 7 and the missing toughness has been noticeable the entire tournament but specifically reared its ugly head today. The unit American head coach Bob compiled is monstrous to that of the Canadian entry so you begin to ask yourself, do we have the horses to beat the red, white and blue. The defenceman who held their own admirably today were Noah Juulsen and Thomas Chabot. Juulsen will always size up favourably against a group such as this because he grasps at asserting himself physically and because the Americans recripocate he'll always be the most important horse in the stable. Let's nor kid ourselves Juulsen has limitations offensively but the reason I was so impressed today is because he was the one guy who stood up to the Thompson's, Greenways and Harper's and didn't head back to the bench intimidated. When Phillipe Myers left a game with a pirported serious injury, Jeremy Lauzon was asked so step up and fulfill a top four role and unfortunately for us Canadians he failed to live up to the billing. I've been awfully critical of Boston Terrier Dante Fabbro but maybe playing against five of his BU teammates woke him up as he actually showcased competent tendencies. For Fabbro, skating isn't his forte but the more big hits he's able to lay the better his overall game transitions to and I think once Ducharme scurries through the tape and presuming Myers can't go in the quarters(unknown as of this writing) I suspect we'll Fabbro supplant Lauzon on the depth charts.
Time for the game rankings....
Phillipe Myers-left the game early enough that he won't be included in my ranking