This game was essentially over before it started. There are “David vs. Goliath” stories in hockey but this wasn’t one of them. Team USA controlled every aspect of the game from start to finish and continued its dominance over its Group B opponents with a 7-0 trouncing of Team Austria.
Coaches love boring games if everything is going their way and head coach Nate Leeman’s heart rate would have barely reached 60 beats per minute all game. Here are three takeaways from this one-sided victory.
Team USA’s Skill Was More than Austria Could Handle
The Americans came out of the gate on fire and their onslaught was more than the Austrians were prepared for at puck drop. Austria was overwhelmed, and before they could blink, they had given up two goals in the first two and a half minutes.
“We knew we had to get off to a good start today. Our schedule was different today, and it was important for us to adjust quickly. I’m happy with how the team started the first period and kept it rolling.”– Team USA Head Coach Leaman following their victory over Team Austria
The assault continued through the entirety of the first period, and by the first intermission, the Americans had a 4-0 lead and fired 26 shots on Austrian netminder Leon Sommer.
The Americans were simply too fast and skilled for the Austrians to compete with. For the third consecutive game, they dominated in the offensive zone and were able to create scoring chances with their constant movement and team flow. It was a full team effort as five different players scored goals and no player had more than two points.
Wyatt Kaiser Showed Why the Blackhawks Drafted Him
The Chicago Blackhawks’ third-round selection in the 2020 Entry Draft scored 30 seconds into the game, then added another first-period goal at the 11:40 mark. The 6-foot defenseman who currently plays at the University of Minnesota-Duluth is an incredibly quick blueliner whose ability to move the puck is exceptional.
Kaiser is not a goal scorer by trade as his two goals over the past two seasons with the UMD Bulldogs indicate. His two-goal contribution for the Americans in this game was a bonus. They don’t expect to see him on the scoresheet but he has shown he can be an offensive option when the opportunity arises. His speed, physicality and ability to transition the puck from defense to offense make him more valuable than any offensive stats would suggest. He is a defensive defenseman with offensive skills who should make his way into a Blackhawks uniform in the next few seasons.
Kaiser was selected as the American’s best skater and recognized by being named their Player of the Game.
Red Wings Fans Should Be Excited About Carter Mazur
The Red Wings picked up Carter Mazur, a 6-foot right-handed left winger in the third round of the 2021 Entry Draft. He had a strong freshman season last year, helping his University of Denver Pioneers to their ninth national championship while contributing two assists in the championship game. With 38 points (14 goals, 24 assists) in 41 games last season, Mazur proved to be a skilled and consistent player night in and night out.
That consistency is clearly evident in this tournament, as he now has six points on four goals and two assists in the Americans’ first three games. That total is tied for second amongst all scorers behind only Canada’s Mason McTavish who has 10 points to date. Moving forward, I think you’ll see Mazur’s real skill and ability shine.
“If Mazur continues to play like he has since the Red Wings drafted him in 2020, he will end up wearing that Red Wings jersey for a long time.”– Kevin Allen, detroithockeynews.com
Team USA has obliterated the opposition outscoring them 19-2 in three games but have faced Germany, Switzerland and Austria, who are not exactly hockey powerhouses. Their first real test comes today in the form of Team Sweden and this is where I think you’ll see Mazur stand out. His speed and offensive skill will be needed but he has shown he can handle big situations.
Next Up for the Americans
The win over Team Austria gives the Americans a perfect 3-0 record heading into the final game of the preliminary round where they will face by far their toughest test to date in Team Sweden. A win would earn Team USA first place in Group B heading into the playoff rounds. Puck drop for the August 14 game is scheduled for 10:00 pm EST.
|Team Canada||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team USA||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Austria||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Czechia||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Finland||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Germany||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Sweden||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Switzerland||Players to Watch||Roster|
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Keith Forsyth is a freelance writer and sports junkie from rural Manitoba who is covering the Winnipeg Jets for The Hockey Writers. Keith loves all sports and is a huge fan of the NFL (Skol Vikings… if you know, you know) and the Montreal Expos (they’re coming back… you watch!). He recently retired from the education world teaching high school, where his greatest passion was coaching young athletes. He brings that same logical, behind the bench type of approach to you as he delivers an insightful look into the NHL and specifically the Jets. For interview requests or content info, follow Keith on Twitter or his social media accounts. They appear under his photo on articles like this one.