As the World Juniors continue, a lot was at stake. Hoping to redeem themselves from their loas to Finland two nights earlier, Team USA was facing the Czech Republic today in Edmonton.
At 1-1, the Americans opened the scoring but the Czechs answered. The two teams exchanged goals again in the second but in the third, the Czechs pulled away as they scored three in the final ten minutes to clinch a spot in the semis, while dropping the US to 1-2-0 and, in the process, pushing them to the brink of elimination.
Neither Los Angeles Kings' prospect playing today recorded a point. Derek Forbort remains with just two assists this tournament while Kevin Gravel has yet to register a point. Neither recorded a shot today and Gravel finished with a -1 rating.
Should the Americans hope to advance to the semis, they will need a lot of help. Nay, they will need a miracle. With Canada and the Czechs having already clinched in the pool, the third and final spot can be clinched by Finland with a win tomorrow. The problem with the US is that Finland plays Denmark tomorrow, who despite being 0-3-0 thus far, has been outscored 28-5 in those three contests.
The Americans had an opportunity to control their own fate today and they failed to do so. Now, they must hope for something that's seemingly beyond prayer. Should the Americans get their way, they should be forever grateful to the nation of Denmark, even if it's just moving onto the next round without a guarantee of a medal.
Photo: Courtesy of John Ulan/The Canadian Press