Team USA’s run at a medal in this year’s 2014 IIHF World Championships is now over. The United States lost to the Czech Republic in Thursday’s quarter-final matchup, meaning the American squad is done. The Czechs, meanwhile, will go on to face Finland in the semifinals.
Thursday’s game saw the US rally back late, but they weren’t able to complete the comeback, losing out in the end.
The United States opened the scoring on a power-play goal by Brock Nelson for his fifth of the tournament.
That would end up being the US’ only lead of the night, as the Czechs would tie it up minutes later on a power-play goal by captain Tomas Rolinek, and the teams would walk out of the first period tied at one.
Things went from bad to worse, as USA captain Justin Abdelkader was served with a five-minute charging penalty and a game misconduct after a hit on Vladimir Sobotka. This gave the Czechs plenty of power-play time, and they took advantage, scoring twice on the 5-minute opportunity.
It started with a goal by Tomas Hertl at the 6:51 mark. Then, Roman Cervenka made it 3-1 in favor of the Czech Republic. The United States was able to get through the rest of the penalty kill unscathed, but they were already down 3-1 and missing their captain, to boot.
Later in the second, Ondrej Nemec made it 4-1.
That would be all for the scoring until late in the third period, when the United States made a last-minute rally. Tyler Johnson scored two goals in 13 seconds to make it 4-3, but the United States was unable to complete the comeback and fell 4-3.
Peter Mueller was named best player for the United States after a three-assist night. Roman Cervenka was handed those honors for the Czech Republic.
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe played just 1:39 in the first period, and that was all for him for the night — two shifts.
Prior to Thursday’s semifinal, McCabe finished the preliminary round having appeared in seven games. He had two penalty minutes and seven shots on goal, and saw declining ice times in each preliminary round game.
He played 14:07 in USA’s opening game of the tournament, a 6-1 win over Belarus; 13:34 in a 3-2 win over Switzerland; 17:37 in a 6-1 loss to Russia; 16:07 in a 6-5 loss to Latvia; 11:28 in a 4-3 win over Kazakhstan; 3:30 in a 3-1 win over Finland, and 5:26 in a 5-4 loss to Germany.
Meanwhile, Zemgus Girgensons and the Latvian squad were eliminated in the preliminary rounds. Girgensons finished the tournanent with two goals and 29 penalty minutes in six games, averaging 16:30 ice time.