WJC: Team USA coach Nate Leaman comments on Red Savage’s match penalty

Red Wings prospect Red Savage made a bad decision that cost himself and Team USA at the World Junior Championship’s preliminary round in Edmonton.

Savage took 5-and-a-game for this hit on Joakim Kemmell:

As a result, Finland rallied from a 3-1 deficit on the 5-minute major penalty assessed to Savage, and Finland ultimately won 4-3 in overtime.

After the game, Team USA coach Nate Leaman spoke with the media, as noted by the Edmonton Sun’s Jim Matheson:

While Kemell, who leads the SM-Liiga in goals as a 17-year-old and could go in the first-round of the 2022 NHL draft, was taking off his gear in the dressing room, the Finns manufactured an improbable comeback from a 3-1 hole, scoring three times on the five-minute penalty for a 4-3 overtime victory.

Finnish captain Roni Hirvonen beat American backup Daniel Silverstein for the winner after Joel Maatta and Ville Ottevainen sent the edgy game to extra time with two more power-play goals.

“Tough lesson to learn but I would rather it happen now,” said USA coach Nate Leaman. “If it’s later, it could cost you the tournament. If this helps us become the most disciplined team, we can look back and say that was a healthy thing for us. Red got a little overaggressive at that moment but that’s what makes him tick.”

The Finns scored three goals on the game’s final seven shots on Silverstein, who replaced starter Drew Commesso after 40 minutes. Commesso gave up one goal to Los Angeles Kings prospect Kasper Simontaival early in the first, after the Finns had the game’s first seven before the USA fought back.

While Savage — the son of former NHL winger Brian Savage — got a game misconduct, Finnish defenceman Ruben Rafkin, who played for the Windsor Spitfires two years ago, was tossed out in the first period for kneeing Brett Berard.

Because Savage’s penalty was a match and the International Ice Hockey Federation frowns on hits to the head, he might get suspended. Rafkin’s was a major and less edgy.


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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.