It was not the result that Canadians and some Habs fans were hoping for, but silver lining, Caufield got his Gold! Congrats to him and the rest of the US Dream Team, as Trevor Zegra said post-game, this was a fitting end to a 4 year journey for many of them.
It took both teams some time to get going as the first 10 mins of the game was some very tight checking hockey. Just before the half way mark Caufield and his line mates came out buzzing, slowly tilting the scales for the US. The American’s first goal of the game quickly followed as Trevor Zegras took advantage of a tired Jamie Drysdale. Zegras easily picked up a lose puck in the corner sending it back to Helleson at the point whose shot was deflected in front by Turcotte.
It didn’t take the US long to capitalize on some puck luck early to start the 2nd period. 30 seconds in, Kaliyev held the puck in at the blue line and fired it around the boards behind the net. The puck then bounced off the goal camera in the back of the net and came back the opposite way. Both Devon Levi and Jamie Drysdale went one way while the puck bounced back the other sitting there as the perfect gift for Zegras to double the lead.
From there it was the Spencer Knight show, as the US team protected their lead. Canada controlled most of the play in the second half of the game, outshooting the Americans 15-1 in the 3rd. Knight was on his game all night, making far too many of Canada’s shots look average by having them hit him in the chest. This is not to say Canada did not have their chances, Byram almost had a shorty that went off the post to go along with another cross bar for the team. This was the American’s night and they earned. To the victors go the barrells I guess!
For Caufield it was a much needed taste of sweet, sweet victory. As I eluded to earlier the core group of this team has been together for the better part of the last 3-4 years. If we include Jack Hughes (who was not released for the tournament) this team basically holds every USNDTP scoring record in the program’s history. Along the way, they won games, like A LOT of games.
Graduating to Wisconsin, Caufield’s days of winning quickly disappeared. The Badgers finished dead last in the Big 10 last season and for a guy who takes pride in winning, this was a tough pill to swallow. In the Habs new podcast, History in the Making, Marc Dumont sits down with Caufield. In the interview they discuss Caufield’s awards from last year and what he wants to accomplish this year. This was his part of his response:
“For me obviously, winning is what it is all about. Those accolades don’t mean anything unless you play your play-in game on the lat game of the year. To me, it was nice to get those awards last year, but finishing last in the Big 10 is no where near good enough.”
Mr. Dumont was correct when he immediately said people will love that answer. Of course every US player was excited to win, but you could tell by Caufield’s face how good it felt to be a winner again. Congrats Mr. Caufield, you earned your Gold.
On the Canadian side of things, Kaiden Guhle overall had a strong game and tournament for that matter. He played physical, often disrupting the US cycle and forecheck which was their game plan coming in. Guhle’s poise on the ice last night for a game of that magnitude was impressive. In his few opportunities with the puck he walked the Blue Line with ease and looked very comfortable.
Unfortunately for him, Guhle will likely reflect back on one play specifically for some time. On the US first goal, Turcotte and Guhle had been engaged in a long drawn out battle that begun in the corner, and ended with Turcotte getting a goal. Guhle broke up the US cycle by pinning Turcotte to the boards, however Turcotte got the final laugh, dancing around Guhle in front to make his stick available for the tip.
Yes, Guhle needs to tie him up, no excuses, however, anyone pointing the finger at Guhle needs to smarten up. It was one of at least 8 (that I counted) things to go wrong on that shift and the US capitalized. Regardless, this will serve as motivation for next year, because am I ever excited to see Guhle return next year, possibly along side a guy like Owen Power. Shades of Dion and Shea? Maybe a stretch but I am looking for anything to forget the loss.
Now that the dust has settled, Caufield will return to Wisconsin to continue his chase for a Big 10 Title with the Badgers. It will be exciting to see him and Holloway finally reunited, although things could be awkward at first. Guhle will reportedly make his way to Montreal to join the team until the WHL figures out their plan for the season. It is within the realm of possibilities that we see Guhle with the Rockets this season.
As always, check out the rest of the Hot Sauce community! In our final Podcast of the year, Peeze, Terry and Eagle talk Football, 2020 in review and welcome Guiness World Record Holder Shangrila Rendon to the show! Shangrile is a World Record Holding Triathlete that now coaches and motivates people to become better athletes and people.
Alex the Intern and Terry move to the Octagon this week as they MMA with Emmanueli Adzoh to talk about his career, training and mindset as he get’s ready for fights.
I am also happy to announce that we have started an Interview series. Terry and I follow up our interview with Brent Sopel by welcoming HC Torpedo, Strength and Conditioning Coach Andrew Kacsor to the show. We bring things back to the beginning with this Beauty to talk about his journey to the KHL. Teaser, we discuss the infamous Russian gas!
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