By @MichaelCaples –
Team USA was cruising in the IIHF Men’s World Championship.
Then they met Finland in the quarterfinals.
After six straight victories to take the top spot in their pool, the U.S. took on the Finns in the quarterfinals of the prestigious international tournament, and the Americans lost 2-0.
They will return home without a medal after a very promising preliminary-round performance.
“It goes without saying we’re bitterly disappointed,” said Sault Ste. Marie native and Red Wings bench boss Jeff Blashill, head coach of the 2017 U.S. Men’s National Team. “We believed that this team had the ability to win the tournament. They are a great group who cared, were selfless and played some great hockey. Unfortunately, Finland was better than we were today and I congratulate them.”
Mikko Reantenen broke a scoreless tie one minute into the second period, beating Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard on a rebound try during a Finland power play.
Finland increased its lead to 2-0 when Joonas Kemppainen finished off a two-on-one chance.
Howard was named the U.S. player of the game, despite the loss; he stopped 18 of 20 shots sent his way.
Dylan Larkin was named one the three best players in the tournament for Team USA – he’s joined by Johnny Gaudreau and Anders Lee on the list.
Larkin finished with two goals and eight assists for 10 points in eight games, along with an impressive +7 rating and 20 shots on goal.
How the other Michigan natives fared:
Danny DeKeyser finished with a +5 in the tournament, despite being held off the scoresheet.
Jacob Trouba recorded one goal and two assists, along with a +5 rating.
Andrew Copp logged one goal and a +3 rating.
J.T. Compher posted two goals and a +4 rating.
Connor Hellebuyck appeared in two games, logging a .917 save percentage and 2.50 goals-against average.