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World Juniors

3 'Star' keys to success for U.S. against Canada

NHL Network analyst Dave Starman says goaltending, discipline could determine gold

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL Network is providing exclusive live telecasts of all games for the United States national junior team at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal.

The United States will play Canada in the gold medal game at Bell Centre on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN).

"NHL Now" co-host Steve Mears and NCAA hockey analyst Dave Starman have provided commentary for each U.S. game. Starman said the fact the United States defeated Canada 3-1 in a preliminary round game of Group B on Saturday doesn't really matter at this stage.

"What matters is whose adrenaline, combined with whose hockey IQ, overcomes the fatigue factor that starts to creep in," Starman said. "Emotions will be high, nerves will be high. When that all settles in and you're just playing hockey, that's when you will make the plays that decide the game."

Canada and the United States each played Wednesday and will be playing for the third time in four days.

Starman has provided for NHL.com his three keys to victory for the United States before each of its games during the 11-day tournament, which concludes Thursday.

Here is his seventh installment, looking at the U.S. game against Canada for the gold medal:

 

1. Get to the Hart of the matter

"Goalie Tyler Parsons has played in front of the cameras and on the big stage before, winning a Memorial Cup (with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League last spring). He's won big games in the home buildings of the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. He has made big saves and has been good after goals allowed. Carter Hart steadied the ship for Canada against Sweden in front of a big and friendly crowd, but he has been susceptible to a bad goal. You generally can't give up bad goals and win a one-and-done championship game. The U.S. needs to create doubt in Hart's mind that he can outduel Parsons. If he looks shaky early, Canada's confidence could take a hit."

 

2. Sustain, maintain and refrain

"The U.S. generally has been good because of sustained offensive-zone time and will be expecting the ground game to wear out Canada's defense with its size, tenacity, and quick-strike ability. The U.S. will need to maintain puck possession and keep the game moving north so that their wings, all real good, straight-line players who play with an edge, can be most effective. Russia took three offensive-zone penalties and a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty that basically doomed them as the U.S. cashed in on power-play chances from undisciplined penalties. Every game like this is loaded with emotional triggers and how it's controlled. You can't take that stupid retaliation penalty or bad stick foul. The key here is controlling and maintaining the emotional pitch of the game and not allowing Canada to get the crowd any more into this one then they will already be."

 

3. The moral of the story

"The theme of the WJC is that if you have a goalie and a power play, you're in business. The U.S. has had both. What the U.S. has also had is very good success between the blue lines and in the hard areas. The U.S. players have shown they will pay a price to win pucks and win games. There has been a lot of extra effort, and the heroics have been spread around. The U.S. depth has been a huge factor in this 6-0 run, and there is no reason to think it won't again be Thursday. Forcing Canada's defense, minus [injured] Philippe Myers (Philadelphia Flyers), to defend will be a big factor. The more time Thomas Chabot (Ottawa Senators) spends by his goal line as opposed to the U.S. blue line, the better."

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