HALIFAX – Team USA has received timely scoring from so many of the young guns in their lineup. While so much attention has been paid to Patrick Kane and Phil Kessel, Dustin Brown has played some of the most effective hockey for his team. His quiet leadership has also been apparent as well.
Brown is making his third appearance at the World Championships. He made his debut in the 2004 tournament in the Czech Republic where the United States won a bronze medal, its first since 1996. In 2006 when the tournament was held in Latvia, he answered USA Hockey’s call again. That was a breakout tournament for Brown as he scored five goals in seven games.
In the 9-1 win over Norway, Brown scored two goals and added an assist in what was a decisive result. All but five skaters (not including goaltender Robert Esche) scored at least a point.
“We needed come out strong as this game mattered for all teams involved,” said Brown immediately after the game. “We got the win that we needed and now have to wait to see who we will play next.
After the win, the only question was who would be their next opponent. Would it be Canada, who they faced last Tuesday and lost a 5-4 nail biter? Or would it be Finland against whom they lost a tough, yet controversial game just last night.
Their answer came in the middle game of yesterday’s matchups at the Halifax Metro Centre when Canada defeated Finland, setting up a rematch between Team USA-Finland.
Up 2-0 heading into the third period, Team USA let the lead slip away and lost 3-2. They had so many chances to score with the man advantage, including a five-minute call, but would only produce one power play goal on the night.
“You look at that game and it obviously did not go the way we wanted,” he said. “You have to forget about it and focus on the next game, which I think we did against Norway.”
Brown continues to show that he’s a strong contender for the 2010 Olympic team. After scoring 33 goals for the Kings in the regular season and his success on the international stage, Brown’s case is quite strong.
This year he is second in scoring with five goals and nine points. Brown has assumed a solid role on the team as a young veteran but also a complete forward. He scores, yes, but also finishes checks and shows the ability to become a dominant power forward.
Wednesday is going to be an important game for the Americans. A win over Finland assures they will be playing for a medal once again. In the quarterfinals games are no longer a learning experience. There are no teachable moments. All that’s left is to win or, if not, go home.
“This tournament is not about how many games you win, but winning the right games and those games are coming up now.
Spoken like someone who’s done this before.