The U.S. Men's National Team will be the home team and wear its blue jersey for the first time here in Riga, Latvia, when it takes on Kazakhstan today at the 2021 IIHF Men's World Championship.
THE SERIES VS. KAZAKHSTAN
Today's game is just the fourth-ever meeting between the U.S. and Kazakhstan in IIHF Men's World Championship play. The U.S. has won all three previous meetings and hold a goal for-goals against advantage of 17-5, two of those wins have required overtime. Coincidentally, both of the last two U.S. meetings against Kazakhstan has featured U.S. captain Justin Abdelkader, who was part of the U.S. rosters in 2012 and 2014.
TEAM USA INJURY UPDATES
In Team USA's 5-1 win over Canada, both goaltender Anthony Stolarz (first period, lower body) and forward Tage Thompson (third period, upper body) left the game due to injury. Yesterday, it was announced Stolarz will miss the rest of the tournament while Thompson is considered day-to-day.
GOALTENDER DREW COMMESSO TO JOIN TEAM USA
Due to Stolarz returning to the U.S. for further evaluation, the U.S. has added Drew Commesso, who skated this past season with Boston University (6-3-1 (W-L-T, 2.99 GAA, .915 SV%) and was selected in the second round (46th ovr.) by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2020 NHL Draft. He skated two seasons with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program and was originally named to the preliminary roster for the 2021 U.S. National Junior Team before becoming unavailable to participate due to COVID-19 protocol. He is en route to Latvia.
INSTANT IMPRESSION FOR IIHF DEBUTS
So far, eight of a possible 10 players have made their IIHF world championship debut here in Latvia, including Colin Blackwell, Brian Boyle, Conor Garland, Trevor Moore, Eric Robinson, Kevin Rooney, Matt Roy, and Matt Tennyson. In addition, Connor Mackey and Ryan Shea will also being making IIHF debuts when they draw into the lineup. Of those players, two are serving as alternate captains (Blackwell, Roy) while three have already hit the scoresheet -- all of which came in Team USA's win against Canada. Moore scored twice, Garland added two assists and Tennyson netted Team USA's fifth and final goal.