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U.S. faces long odds for WJC medal after Czech upset

Dec 30, 2011, 7:05 PM EDT

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.

  1. danphipps01 - Dec 30, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    Guy’s a secret government clone of the Dominator or something. 54 shots… two goals to show for it. Both with the man advantage. Mrazek is just impossibly good.

  2. sharksfan754 - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    The goalies celebrations were a little over the top. I’m not talking about him stopping the penalty shot (i was fine with that one) but at the end of the game it looked like something out of the mighty ducks D2 when they scored goals 3,4 and 5… The game the Americans played was bad despite the shot count in their favor I expected a more out of them for the tourney

  3. mydadyourmom - Dec 30, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    Retarded celebrations. Beating the Yanks? big deal. No chance against the Canadians. Surprised he Americans didn’t react to the juvinelle celebrations. Embarrassing to both subpar nations.

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Dec 30, 2011 at 11:46 PM

      You realize you talking about teenagers? You want them to celebrate with golf claps? And I’m assuming you are Canadian. Remember going up 3-0 last year and Schenn’s jersey celly? That was classy too.

    • danphipps01 - Dec 31, 2011 at 1:06 AM

      Oh, pipe down and stop hating fun. Fuck, with the fans and the coaches and the media all clenching their assholes this tight, I’m consistently amazed they don’t suffer a collective aneurysm every time a player smiles after scoring a goal. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating. Ask football players.

      It’s one thing, I’ll give you, when a walking liability of a defenseman like P.K. Subban celebrates every one of the (few) things he does right. The guy routinely loses games for Montreal all but singlehandedly. He’s more proud of himself than he has any right to be.

      But this? Take it in context: they fired 54 shots, spent most of the game in the Czech end and Mrazek won the game anyway. He absolutely, and singlehandedly, stole that victory for them. Without him, it was a 6-2 American win. At BEST. After that kind of spectacular performance, he’s earned the right to be proud. Besides, they’re kids. They get excited when they succeed. But I guess you don’t remember when you were young enough to be happy when you accomplished something. Keep on hating fun, broseph.

  4. danphipps01 - Dec 31, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    Welp, the Americans are out. Finland not only beat Denmark, they blew them to pieces in the most crushing defeat they’ve suffered yet. For a team that routinely makes the semi-finals, I imagine missing the medal round outright can’t look too good on the resume. But, hey, the Czech Olympic team won gold in ’98 despite scoring only one goal in each of the last two games. That’s what a superstar goaltending performance can do for you. Mrazek held Canada to one goal for over half the game. If his forwards had generated any sort of respectable offense, they might have actually WON it, too. Mrazek’s the kind of guy who can singlehandedly make a thoroughly average team win against stars.

  5. thatsdoinit - Dec 31, 2011 at 2:56 AM

    Look, the kid played amazing. He had a huge game so of course he was jacked up. And his fist pump celly after the penalty shot probably got his team jacked up too. He’s a kid in a foreign country, playing what’s probably the biggest game of his life (so far), and he’s got a full stadium of mostly Canadians cheering wildly for him. And on a team considered to be underdogs in that game. Who wouldn’t get a little fired up? It’s like when the Russians started chanting for Rocky when he fought Drago. Well, not exactly. But you know what? That’s a damn good movie. Just sayin’.

    • rainyday56 - Dec 31, 2011 at 10:45 AM

      Those “Russians” cheering for Rocky were also Canadian. The scene was filmed at the Agrodome in Vancouver, next door to the Canucks old arena. Yep, those were Canucks fans cheering in that scene. (And no riot afterward)

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