Saturday, May 7, 2016

O'Reilly factors in at IIHF Worlds. Jake McCabe is shaken up, but returns

Reprinted with permission from

Buffalo Sabres forward Ryan O'Reilly was at center ice when Team Canada faced off today against Team U.S.A. in the 2016 IIHF World Men's Hockey Championships in Russia. O'Reilly and fellow Sabres forward Sam Reinhart were up against a U.S.A. squad that featured two Buffalo players--D, Jake McCabe and F, Hudson Fasching.

O'Reilly and McCabe were both prominent players for their respective teams as Canada trounced the Americans by a 5-1 score. After the U.S. got out to a 1-0 lead off of a powerplay goal by Patrick Maroon (EDM) in his first-ever world tournament, the Canadians scored five unanswered goals. The game-winner came off of the stick of Brendan Gallagher (MTL) on a feed from O'Reilly after he hustled to grab the puck in the U.S. corner.

On O'Reilly's second assist (another primary one) he went to the corner with McCabe and used some veteran savvy to get the puck to Boone Jenner (CLB.) With the puck in the corner and O'Reilly on the ice after he and McCabe collided, O'Reilly reached out with his stick after McCabe thought he was in the clear and stole it back. Jenner got a pass behind the U.S.A. net and wheeled towards the front putting a shot that eeked in between goalie Keith Kindaid (NJD) and the post. It was definitely one that Kinkaid would want back as it put the Canadians up 4-1 and put the game out of reach.

That sort of hustle and puck work by O'Reilly is something Buffalo fans grew accustomed to in his first year with the Sabres.

McCabe played a fine game save for that one blemish. He was on the team's top-pairing as well as anchoring the top penalty kill unit which held the Canadians scoreless on five powerplay opportunities. But he had a scary incident midway through the first period.

While chasing down a puck in his own end he became airborne went into the boards awkwardly and wound up favoring his left side as he skated slowly towards the bench. He went to the lockerroom and wouldn't return for the remainder of the period. It was during his absence that Gallagher scored for Canada.

With names like Connor McDavid, Taylor Hall, Matt Duchene, Brad Marchand, and Derek Brassard, amongst others taking up the top forward spots, Buffalo's Reinhart was down the depth chart but still displayed his talents in the limited ice-time given. As usual he was in front of the net and also was able to find open ice in the U.S. zone. His only shot on goal was a product of finding that ice and he ripped one that boinked off of the facemask of Kinkaid leaving him just shy of Laurie Partridge hallucinations. All-in-all, however, it wasn't a particularly good performance by Kinkaid or much of the U.S. squad.

Fasching was barely noticeable in over seven minutes of ice-time, which is to be expected from his first men's championship experience.

Team USA plays Belarus tomorrow and has a day off on Sunday before facing Finland on Monday on NBCSN.


Buffalo's other player at the Worlds is forward Zemgus Girgensons whose Team Latvia dropped an overtime decision to Team Sweden.

Girgensons was a minus-1 with one shot on goal in 19:53 of ice-time. Latvia takes on the Czech Republic tomorrow.

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