Team USA, shockingly, lost to Slovakia 3-2 Thursday night in World Junior Championship group play in Buffalo, N.Y. The deciding goal, by Samuel Bucek, looked like something you’d see from a former NHL star who was a wizard with the stick.
Bucek skated and stickhandled through all the USA skaters, and then potted his own rebound to give his team the lead late in the third period. The play was a thing of beauty (well, for Slovakia and, probably, Canada, which plays the U.S. in an outdoor game Friday).
BUCEK! THIS GAME IS INSANE! SLOVAKIA SAYS “NOT SO FAST” AND SCORES TO TAKE BACK THE LEAD WITH 2:08 ON THE CLOCK! WHAT A GOAL! pic.twitter.com/IRAR6Bv21L
— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) December 29, 2017
So, to review: Bucek dangled and darted around opponents. He got to the net, then scored in a tight area. And he was wearing 13? Hmmmm.
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Sure, it’s a stretch, but that’s some Pavel Datsyuk-type work with the stick, even if the American kids were disorganized, running around and flailing in their end.
Bucek, 19, is playing in the U.S. this season, for Chicago of the USHL. He has seven goals in 20 games, so he isn’t an offensive juggernaut. You couldn’t tell it from this play.