On the upside, Detroit Red Wings prospect Carter Mazur just spent two weeks competing in a high-end hockey tournament.
On the downside, the U.S. leaves the 2023 Ice Hockey World Championship without a medal, tarnishing what had begun with such promise.
Similarly to the day before, the U.S. blew a late lead Sunday and wound up losing in overtime. Latvia’s 4-3 victory at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland, meant a bronze medal celebration for the team that didn’t advance to the elimination round until the last day possible, and an empty feeling for the team that had won eight straight games going into the semifinals.
Mazur, 21, leaves the tournament, his first go-around with the men’s team, having gained valuable experience that will help him in the fall, when the expectation is to push for a spot on the Wings’ roster. Mazur had a goal and three assists in 10 games, and one of his helpers came when he set up the winning goal in the U.S.’s 4-3 victory over Sweden, which capped the preliminary round and secured the top spot in Group A for the Americans.
Mazur performed in front of Wings coach Derek Lalonde, an assistant coach with the U.S. Wings general manager Steve Yzerman was at the tournament as an assistant GM with Team Canada.
The U.S. came into the weekend on a confident streak, having won seven games in the preliminary round and shutting out Czechia, 3-0, in the quarterfinals.
That set up a semifinal against Germany. The U.S. built a 2-0 lead and led, 3-2 late in the third period Saturday, but fell, 4-3 in overtime, sending them to the consolation game. Matt Coronato gave the Americans a 3-2 lead at 6:19 of the third period, but again the U.S. couldn’t put away the opponent. Kristians Rubins scored with 5:39 to play in regulation, and it only took 1:22 of overtime for Rubins to strike again, giving the Latvians a bronze medal and the Americans, nothing.
“You could see what this means to them,” Rocco Grimaldi told the IIHF website. “I think they probably wanted it little more than we did. We said after the first period, we have to want it as much as they do because they’re playing like it was for a gold medal, not just a bronze. I don’t think we matched their intensity for the full 60.”
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.