After a strong 3-1 win over Switzerland yesterday. The U.S.A. has put themselves in a strong position to possibly contend for the 2nd Round Bye out of Group A. Even if the Americans don't win the group, the Americans will be looking for a blow out win the Norwegians tomorrow to help their chances of at least being the best of the 3 2nd place teams to get the final 2nd Round Bye and get automatically through to the Quarterfinals.
They was some great things I saw yesterday, include peppering the Swiss Goalie Jonas Hiller that help kept the Swiss Defense. And Goaltending on their heels and keeping the Swiss offense from making just a whole lot chances, especially early in the game. Also, Ryan Miller has proven to be a strong netminder through his successful season with the Buffalo Sabres and in the tournament opener.
Some great chances on the PP including Ryan Malone's PP Goal to make it 3-0 late in the 2nd period. Even though they scored, the other 2 power plays didn't produce very much and that needs to get better as that could burn them as the tournament goes on, especially when the Americans and Canadians face off on Sunday.
Also, matching The team's physicality was big, by matching the Swiss number of hits early on in the game. In addition, they were able to keep the game clean by only taking 2 penalties in the entire game to limit the number of chances for the Swiss Offense. When you play teams like this, keeping the game clean is a huge factor as that's one of the best ways lower ranked opponents try to beat you on the Special Teams.
Now, the biggest criticism was the fact that they gave up way to many odd man rushes to the Swiss. One of the biggest things that kept the Swiss from getting in this game was the fact that many of the 2 on 1 chances were either to high or to wide and didn't challenge Ryan Miller that much in the game as the SOG were 24-15 in the game, but it could have been a lot higher for the Swiss real easily.
If the Americans are going to perform well in this tournament. This is the biggest thing that the U.S.A. needs to work on for the game against Norway tomorrow, then get themselves ready for the game against Canada on Sunday that should be to win the Group and gain a 2nd Round Bye for when the 2nd Round starts on 2/23.
Ryan Miller needs to be huge in this tournament, he's going to need to help steal the Canadian Game on Sunday and then either the 2nd Round and/or Quarterfinal Game to help the Americans have a chance of winning a medal this month in Vancouver.
Bottom Line: The Americans may still be underdogs, but the Americans have done well in this role countless time before. From the Miracle on Ice Game, to the recent WJC Tournament where the Americans upset Canada.
The Americans may have a shot to continue what's been a great season so far this year as the Americans look to win their 2nd major tournament of the international season. Including the WJC just after Christmas, plus some other big events like the U17 World Challenge and the World Junior A Challenge so far this season.
Even with a deep field, the Americans are not afraid and they believe that they can win a Medal at the Olympics.
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