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World Juniors

3 keys to success for U.S. against Russia in World Juniors

NHL Network analyst Starman says no leaky goals, undisciplined penalties are important

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

The NHL Network will provide exclusive live telecasts of all United States games during the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.

The U.S. finished second after four preliminary-round games (3-0-1-0) in Group B at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria and defeated Czech Republic 3-1 in the quarterfinal round. They will play against Russia in the semifinal round at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Friday (4 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN). 

Longtime NCAA hockey analyst Dave Starman, who will handle the broadcast along with Stephen Nelson, will give his three keys to victory for the United States before each of its games during the 11-day tournament.

"Watching the tape on Russia of their past couple of games, you can make a case that they are a carbon copy of the U.S. in many ways," Starman said. "They're well-coached, up-tempo, skilled, have a dangerous top six, a defense that can go and good goaltending."

Here are Starman's three keys to success for the United States against Russia.


1. No leakers

From the net out, bad goals in single-elimination games are killers. Goalies get blamed for bad goals, but you can give up a good goal that is the result of leaky play leading up to it. Don't spend all game playing safe, but no drop passes to no one in the closing minute of a period, no individual high-risk play at the blue line, and no bad line changes that lead to free chances against. Play hard, smart, and together."


2. No undisciplined penalties

"Why give a skilled team more room to work? You'll take three good penalties a game and have the jam to kill them off. It's the stick fouls, offensive-zone, undisciplined penalty, and not-moving-your-feet penalty that can kill you in these games. The losses by the United States to Russia in the playoff round in 2014 and 2015 were purely the result of taking bad penalties that shouldn't have happened."


3. Play tough

"The Russians are no pushovers in hard areas and the United States has been lights out in its dedication to playing in the hard areas, net front, at both ends. Skill will have an impact on this game but the greasy goal or the two you manufacture from nothing, or the one you prevent by blocking a shot or boxing out, could determine this game."

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