Man, what a game that was a few days ago between the U.S. and Canada for the World Junior Championships Gold Medal.
As happened during their New Year's Eve opening round game, Canada came back from a two goal 3rd period deficit to reach overtime. This time it was different result...
From his CNNSI piece "Character is golden for Team USA in World Junior Championship", Alan Muir wrote of both the magnitude of the win for the U.S. (their first... and Canada's first non-gold in the tournament since 2004) and how the game played itself out tactically.
Keeping in mind that it's the players on the ice who win or loss, two coaches decisions factored heavily into the outcome. The first was from US Coach Dean Blais who replaced Mike Lee with Jack Campbell in goal for U.S. once Canada scored to make the score 3-3. The second was from Canada Coach Willie Desjardins who replaced starting goalie Jake Allen with Martin Jones once the U.S. pulled out to a 5-3 lead.
The U.S. certainly deserved the win, but it earlier action from Desjardins may well have made the difference. This is conjecture, though, as it played out as it did and the U.S. was victorious. Reminds me in a way of how people don't talk a lot about the decision by Soviet Union Coach Viktor Tikhonov to pull Vladislav Tretiak in their 1980 Olympic Gold Medal game vs the U.S. He did... and the Miracle on Ice then followed.
Lots of lots of additional World Junior Championship coverage included a large video library can be found on the TSN World Juniors microsite.
Next year the tournament is in Buffalo and hopefully the U.S. fans can provide the same support for the home team that the Canadians showed. Course, Toronto is pretty close to Buffalo...