RIGA, Latvia – Colin Blackwell (North Andover, Mass.) and Sasha Chmelevski (Huntington Beach, Calif.) both scored and Cal Petersen (Waterloo, Iowa) made 29 saves, but the U.S. Men’s National Team fell to Canada, 4-2, in the semifinal round at the 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship. Team USA will play Germany in the bronze medal game tomorrow (June 6) at 8:15 am ET. The game can be seen live on NHL Network.
“This has been one of the best groups I’ve ever coached character-wise,” said Jack Capuano, head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. “To lose our captain, our alternate, a top prospect, and to still be able to put this effort in tonight says a lot about this group. We still have a chance to come home with a medal and I know this group will give each other everything they’ve got to do so.”
Canada opened the scoring 2:02 into the game when Brandon Pirri one-timed a rebound after Petersen made an initial left-pad save on a shot from Sean Walker.
Both teams traded chances throughout the frame, as Team USA nearly converted on a pair of close-range attempts from Jason Robertson (Northville, Mich.) and Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn.). Petersen stood tall, turning aside a close-range opportunity with a sprawling right-pad save to keep the score at 1-0.
With 2:43 to play in the frame, Blackwell evened the score, 1-1, when he redirected a slap shot from Christian Wolanin (Rochester, Mich.) off an initial pass by Kevin Labanc (Staten Island, N.Y.).
Canada made it 2-1 four minutes into the second period when Andrew Mangiapane put home a loose puck in the slot. Petersen had made the initial save on a shot from Connor Brown, but a scrum in front pushed the puck through his legs for Mangiapane to sweep it in.
The U.S. nearly answered right away as a scrum in front ended with Thompson throwing a spin-around shot on goal that slid beneath Kuemper but ricocheted past the right post.
Trevor Moore (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) had a pair of chances in the second-half of the period. The first came at the top of the crease where Moore’s forehand attempt caught Kemper’s shoulder and bounced away from goal. Later, Conor Garland (Scituate, Mass.) was able to force a turnover at the blue line and find Moore down-low but his backhand chance was denied again.
Canada went up 3-1 just :46 seconds into the final frame as Mangiapane picked up his second goal of the night on a breakaway.
Chmelevski brought the U.S. back within one just minutes later when he buried a rebound out in front of the crease. Kevin Rooney (Canton, Mass.) and Connor Mackey (Tower Lakes, Ill.) got assists on the goal. With a handful of chances in the final minutes of the game, the U.S. was unable to convert as Canada scored an empty-netter to account for the 4-2 final.
NOTES: Christian Wolanin (Rochester, Mich.) was named the U.S. Player of the Game … Zac Jones (Glen Allen, Va.), Conor Garland (Scituate, Mass.) and Cal Petersen (Waterloo, Iowa) were named the three best players of the tournament for Team USA … U.S. outshot Canada, 38-33 … The U.S. was 0-0 on the power play, while Canada was 0-1 … Brian Boyle (Hingham, Mass.) took over as captain of Team USA with Justin Abdelkader (Muskegon, Mich.) out indefinitely due to injury, while Colin Blackwell (North Andover, Mass.) and Matt Roy (Detroit, Mich.) are the squad’s alternate captains.