The IIHF’s 2021 Women’s World Championships don’t technically begin until Friday BUT the US looked pretty damn good in their pre-tournament game against the Russians today.
Because it’s been a while since these players have got to participate in an actual game they scheduled some little pre-tournament games for the competitors. The US, as expected, steamrolled Russia. The Americans came out on top with a 6-0 final score and the entire game, they were just on Russia’s case. Even though it doesn’t count in the grand scheme of the tournament, it was a great first showing for them this year.
Following captain Kendall Coyne Schofield and alternates Lee Stecklein, Hilary Knight, and Brianna Decker, this team played exactly how I expected them to. They were all over the puck, they had so many great shots on net that juuuust missed the mark of getting through. The forwards were getting right in that crease trying to create chances which is exactly what you need. I loved seeing Kendall Coyne out there, buzzin around, getting into everyone’s business. Goaltender Alex Cavallini kicked ass in net, she looks in great shape for this tournament. Nicole Hensley stepped in for a bit and I think she did well. There were some slip ups but overall for a team that hasn’t played a real game in a while with some new parts here and there, I think this was a fantastic place to start. I was very impressed and very happy.
Most of my comments would just be regarding their discipline. They had quite a few penalties, especially in the middle frame. Tighten that up, straighten out some shots so they hit the back of the net, and this USA roster should be good to go. Team USA plays their next game on Friday at 8:30PM CT against Switzerland. I’ll be out of town for my cousin’s wedding but I’ll be buckling my ass to the hotel room to watch this first “real” game.
Once again, they have some things to fix but overall I think they’ll be just fine. I still have full faith in them to absolutely kill it in this tournament. I’ll be here covering it the whole way. I’m so excited this tournament is back, it’s going to be fantastic so be sure to watch all the games on NHL Network. Now I will leave you with the video that’s been stuck in my head all day.
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