Wisconsin's Jake McCabe may have been a surprise choice for Team USA captain by those who don't know him, but anyone who has spent time with the Eau Claire, Wis. native wasn't surprised. One of the more cerebral players at this level, McCabe has made USA Hockey's choice look like the correct one.
McCabe was once again a factor for the United States squad Monday morning, as the Badger sophomore broke a 1-1 tie and added an assist later in the game in the 9-3 victory over Slovakia. The win clinched a birth for the American's in the quarterfinals.
McCabe's goal was a pretty one, as the Badger blue-liner stepped into open ice and caught a pass from Harvard forward Jimmy Vesey. McCabe made a quick move to the middle, drawing the goaltender across his crease before McCabe flicked a quick back-handed shot over the blocker to give U.S.A. a 2-1 lead.
U.S.A. opened up the tournament with an 8-0 victory over Germany, but struggled offensively in back-to-back 2-1 losses to Russia and Canada. The United States busted out of their slump against Slovakia, and are looking to carry that into the medal round.
For the second straight game, McCabe was paired up with U.S.A. superstar defenseman Seth Jones. A Portland Winterhawks (WHL) blue-liner, Jones is expected to be a top three pick in the upcoming NHL draft in June. McCabe and Jones have formed an elite pairing that head coach Phil Housley can count upon to play major minutes.
Team U.S.A. will meet the number two seed from Group A, the Czech Republic, on Wednesday morning at 3:00 a.m. CST. The winner of that quarterfinal contest will take on a tough Canadian squad in the semifinals. As always, the game will be broadcast live on the NHL Network, and streamed online on NHL.com.
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