In the grand scheme of things, Team USA's 4-3 shootout loss at national No. 14 Rensselaer on Sunday is a minor speed bump at best considering it was an exhibition game. Still, the Americans' inability to convert during the 12-round shootout at Houston Field House in Troy is worrisome.
The U.S shootout ability was buoyed by the addition of a proven goal scorer at the junior level -- 19-year-old Jeremy Morin, who is on loan from the Chicago Blackhawks.
Team USA spokesman Alex Clark said Morin will be on the ice today in Rochester for the Americans' game-day skate before facing the Czech Republic at 7 p.m. in the Sports Centre at Monroe Community College. It's uncertain if Morin will suit up for the exhibition contest against the Czechs.
While Morin hasn't been named to the team's final roster, which will be announced Wednesday, the odds of him making the U.S. squad appear to be quite good considering he was playing in the NHL just last Wednesday.
Morin has spent most of the season with Rockford of the AHL (seven goals and 11 points in 19 games) but has appeared in nine games with the Blackhawks, recording two goals and an assist. He scored both his goals in a four-game stretch from Dec. 8 to 15. He scored his first NHL goal in a win over the Dallas Stars.
Morin helped Team USA win the gold last year in Saskatchewan, recording two goals and seven points in seven tournament games. While playing for Kitchener in the OHL last year, he piled up 47 goals and 83 points in 58 regular-season games. He added 12 goals and 21 points in 20 playoff games.
A 2009 second-round pick of Atlanta, Morin went to Chicago as part of the seven-player June 24 deal in which the Thrashers acquired defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, along with Ben Eager, Brent Sopel and Akim Aliu from Chicago.
The U.S. scored only four times during the shootout round Sunday with Jason Zucker scoring two of them.
Jerry D'Amigo, the former RPI star, on failing to extend the shootout and give the U.S. a chance to beat his old team after his tying shot attempt rang off the post:
"It was frustrating. I wanted to win," D'Amigo, a member of Team USA last year, told the Troy Record."
Teams from Sweden, Germany and Norway have made it to North America for tuneup games before the championship. Some of their equipment did not.
The teams were left scrambling Monday when some of their bags were caught in the travel chaos plaguing Europe after days of severe winter weather.
Hockey officials in Canada and the U.S. say the Swedes and Germans went shopping for equipment so they could practice before this week's exhibition games. The Norwegians decided to wait for their bags.
Tonight, Sweden plays Canada in Toronto while Norway takes on Slovakia in Jamestown. The Germans will play the Czech Republic on Wednesday in Rochester.
The tournament begins Sunday in Buffalo.