AUGSBURG, Germany – The U.S. Men’s National Select Team dropped a 5-1 decision to Germany in its final game here today at the 2017 Deutschland Cup before a near capacity crowd at Curt Frenzel Stadium.
“We got behind, but we kept battling,” said Tony Granato, head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Select Team and also the head coach of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. “While we’re certainly disappointed with the result, this tournament has been a real positive in terms of the evaluation process as we head toward the Olympics.”
Germany got the only goal of the opening period at 3:05 off the stick of Frank Wall, who finished a feed from Dominik Kahun after a U.S. defender was checked off the puck behind the net. The U.S. had the only power play of the period, but couldn’t convert. Team USA had several good chances in the final five minutes of the period, including a couple from Dan Sexton (Apple Valley, Minn.) and an initial shot and rebound chance on the same play from Andy Miele (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), but couldn’t solve Danny Aus den Birken, who stopped all 10 U.S. shots on goal in the stanza.
Brent Raedeke converted a cross-ice feed 3:03 into the second stanza to give Germany a 2-0 lead, before Brooks Macek scored on the power play at 12:16 and 1:43 later Thomas Holzmann wristed one through traffic past Ryan Zapolski (Erie, Pa.) to make it 4-0. The U.S. got on the board at 17:55 with Broc Little (Phoenix, Ariz.) finishing a 3-on-0 break. Garrett Roe (Vienna, Va.) and Sexton also drew assists on the play, which began with Zapolski’s long up-ice pass as the Germans were changing. Team captain Brian Gionta (Rochester, N.Y.) had a chance to get the U.S. closer with :37 left in the period, but his shot from the left dot missed high.
The U.S. controlled play for most of the third period, but couldn’t get any closer. Little rang one off the post 9:00 into the third period and Matt Gilroy (Bellmore, N.Y.) caught the top of the cross bar with just more than 6:30 to play. Germany scored into an empty net with Zapolski pulled in favor of an extra attacker with 2:44 left to account for the 5-1 final.
Zapolski made 14 stops in the U.S. net, while Aus den Birken finished with 27 saves.
“First of all I’d like to thank the German Federation and all involved in hosting this tournament. I know everyone involved with our team enjoyed the atmosphere and hospitality,” said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of USA Hockey and also the general manager of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team and the 2017 U.S. Men’s National Select Team. “This event provided the opportunity for our coaching and support staff as well as players to get to know each other in advance of the Olympics. Not all of the players on this team will make our eventual Olympic roster, and that’s the tough part. This was a terrific group of guys who care about our country and are passionate about representing the U.S. in the Olympics. We’re in for some tough decisions”
NOTES: Brian Gionta was named Team USA’s Player of the Game … Team USA finished in fourth place … The U.S. outshot all three of its opponents in the Deutschland Cup, but came up empty in the win column … Including this year, the U.S. has played in the Deutschland Cup 10 times, including previous appearances in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015 … Brian Gionta (Rochester, N.Y.) is the captain of Team USA. Jim Slater (Lapeer, Mich.) and Ryan Malone (Pittsburgh, Pa.) served as alternate captains for today’s contest … The 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team coaching staff is guiding the U.S. in the Deutschland Cup, led by head coach Tony Granato. Assistant coaches are Chris Chelios, Scott Young, Keith Allain and Ron Rolston … Jim Johannson, assistant executive director for hockey operations of USA Hockey, is the general manager of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team and serving in the same capacity for the 2017 U.S. Men’s National Select Team here in Germany … The Deutschland Cup is part of the player evaluation process in helping select the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. The final 25-player roster of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team will be announced on Jan. 1 at Citi Field as part of the NHL’s Winter Classic. The final rosters for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team and 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team will also be announced from Citi Field.