Dec 30, 2011, 7:05 PM EST
Strange Czech hockey politics kept him from being named the official star of the game, but the U.S. team knows that Petr Mrazek was the No. 1 reason that their hopes of winning a medal in this year’s World Junior Championships are dwindling. Mrazek made 52 saves and celebrated boisterously in front of a Canadian crowd that was more than willing to cheer the Czechs on as they beat the U.S. 5-2.
This penalty shot save might be Mrazek’s signature moment:
The Americans will face a typically fantastic Canadian team during their traditional New Year’s Eve game, but the match might not have the tournament relevance it normally does. Finland can knock the U.S. out of medal contention with a regulation win, according to NHL.com.
Generally speaking, the U.S. program has made some huge strides in the last several years, so underwhelming runs like these are starting to stand out a lot more. Then again, sometimes you simply run into a guy as amazing as Mrazek was today.
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