Jack Campbell fought valiantly though the team in front of him faltered, getting pretty thoroughly dominated in a 4-1 loss to Canada and their 15 first round picks. Campbell was under siege much of the game but managed to stop 37 of 41 pucks thrown his way while receiving no goal support until the waning minutes of the third period.
That goal came, coincidentally enough, from Chris Brown, who is a product of Dallas area hockey and lived just two miles from where I am writing this in Flower Mound, TX for a time. So while it was a disappointing night for USA hockey, it was a pretty good showing as far as Texans are concerned tonight.
Campbell may not have gotten the job done again but he'll play for yet another medal in international competition on Wednesday at 2:30pm CST in the bronze medal game against Stars defensive prospects Nemeth and Klingberg. Jack has three gold medals previously in World Junior competition, two with the under-18 club and one last year with the under-20 group that beat Canada in the final.
He was named USA player of the game tonight.
Perhaps most disappointing tonight was the crowd in Buffalo. Dear Buffalo... What the hell was that? It was like watching them back in Saskatchewan last year. It's an NHL sized arena, we're not talking about a lot of people here. It really is a good illustration of what the World Junior Championships mean to the United States: Pretty much nothing. There was a bowl game tonight, the NBA played on, even the NHL played on...Next time it's in the U.S. have it in Minnesota or something.
Ah, well. A disappointing night for the Americans but Stars fans should be encouraged. Jack Campbell really does thrive on a big stage, even if his rebound control needs a little work. He's got plenty of time before he comes to Dallas in a few years.
Check out team USA vs Sweden on Wednesday at 2:30 on NHL Network and hope for Adam Burish's sake that Russia can somehow beat Canada later that night, lest Steve Ott be the winner of their bet.
(BTW, Canada, every time someone holds up anything that says anything even remotely reminiscent of "Hockey is CANADA's game!", a herd of puppies gets blown up by an IED)