Just as disappointment stung the U.S. Olympic team in Sochi, it also hung over their finish in the IIHF World Championships, as the Americans were eliminated in the quarterfinals by the Czech Republic 4-3.
A significantly younger team than the one we saw at the Winter Games, this group of Americans went 4-3-1-0 in this tournament, finishing with a goal differential of +3. The U.S. won bronze at the world championships last year.
Heading into the second period tied 1-1, the Czechs exploded for three goals in the period. After a five-minute major to U.S. captain Justin Abdelkader due to a late hit on Vladimir Sobotka, Tomas Hertl scored for the Czechs 10 seconds into the major to Abdelkader and then Roman Cervenka tallied another during the same power play.
Once tied, the U.S. found themselves down 4-1 going into the final period, but made one last push in the waning minutes of the game.
Tyler Johnson of the Tampa Bay Lightning gave the Americans a late chance, scoring twice in the final minutes with an empty U.S. net, but it wasn’t enough for the American to extend their IIHF worlds campaign into the semifinals.
Tim Thomas got the start in net for the U.S. and stopped 29 of the 33 shots he saw in the game. He was pulled for the extra skater late in third period that led to Johnson’s two goals.
Alexander Salak grabbed the win in net for the Czech Republic, who will face Finland in the semifinals for a chance to play for the world championship.