LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Taylor Cammarata has been called a lot of things on the ice. "Slow" rarely has been one of them.
But against Sweden on Sunday, the USA White forward admitted he was behind the play far too much.
"I was a little fatigued [Sunday]," Cammarata said. "… It's pretty fast. [Sunday] it felt like Sweden had five guys back all the time so you don't have much time to make a play."
One day later against Finland, Cammarata certainly found his skating legs, and had a goal and two assists as USA White cruised to a 5-2 victory against Finland.
Taylor Cammarata found his skating legs against Finland with a goal and two assists as USA White cruised to a 5-2 victory. (Photo: Britta Lewis)
"It's taken me a couple days to get used to things," he said. "I'm still rusty because it's summer, but today I felt really good on the ice. … Today we had a morning skate and I felt pretty good there. Got a little nap in and I felt pretty good."
Cammarata played on a line with Michael McCarron and center Quentin Shore; the trio combined for two goals and four assists.
But it was the 5-foot-7, 156-pound Cammarata who stood out, as he showcased the same kind of skills and quickness that helped him lead the United States Hockey League in scoring last season with 93 points in 59 games and motivate the New York Islanders to select him in the third round (No. 76) of the 2013 NHL Draft.
"No question he made a big step," United States coach Don Lucia said. "He's got such an extremely high hockey IQ. He can make plays a lot of guys can't; you saw that today. For a guy like him, if he's going to have a chance to make this team, he has to score. It was good for him to see him have the type of game he had because he had a huge impact on the outcome."
Cammarata's impact started 6:22 into the game. With USA White on the power play, Cammarata got the puck in the slot, drew the defense to him and fed a pass to Zach Stepan, who scored from in front to make it 1-0.
After Connor Clifton scored off the rush 41 seconds later, Cammarata capped the first period when he scored off a McCarron set-up at 10:06.
On the play, McCarron showcased how he's able to use his 6-foot-5, 228-pound frame to his advantage in the offensive zone.
"He created a lot of space for me," Cammarata said. "I think guys are scared of him. He opens the ice up for me a little more."
McCoshen opened up the ice himself midway through the second. He led a 2-on-1 rush down the right side of the ice, then slammed on the brakes and threw a cross-ice pass to a late-arriving Ian McCoshen. The defenseman retrieved the puck off the wall, got into the left circle and beat Finland goalie Joonas Korpisalo at 8:04 to extend the USA White lead to 4-0.
McCarron closed the second period by again being physical and having it turn into a goal. With USA White skating on a five-minute power play, he harassed defenseman Mikko Vainonen into turning the puck over deep in the Finland zone. Tyler Motte swept in from the right side and fired a shot that Korpisalo stopped, but McCarron crashed the crease for the rebound goal at 16:31.
"I think he's played very well," Lucia said of McCarron. "He's surprised me a little bit. He's big guy, still growing into his body. I think his skating has been strong, he's been good along the wall, he's taken the puck and drove to the net and being a power forward. When you're a guy with his size and strength, that's what you have to be. He's a guy the other teams have to be aware of. Coming in on the forecheck, they better be looking over their shoulders."
Finland scored both of its goals in the final 1:50 of the third period. Teuvo Teravainen, who had a goal and three assists Sunday against USA Blue, took a pass from Artturi Lehkonen in the high slot, skated to the hash marks, deked and rocketed a shot that beat goalie Jon Gillies over his blocker at 18:10.
Aleksi Mustonen scored off a scramble with 11 seconds remaining.
Despite being outscored in the third, Lucia was happy with the effort. With a roster trimming coming Tuesday, he said the decision-making process became a bit harder.
"There were a lot of good things today," he said. "It forced us, after we met last night, to re-evaluate some things about who we're going to keep right now."