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O'Brien's WJC ride ends early

Senators prospect, U.S. stunned by Slovakia in huge quarter-final upset

Friday, 02.01.2009 / 6:48 PM / 2009 World Junior Championship
By Rob Brodie  - OttawaSenators.com
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O\'Brien\'s WJC ride ends early
Senators prospect Jim O'Brien (right) had his world junior medal hopes end today when the U.S. was shocked by Slovakia 5-3 in a huge upset (Photo by Jana Chytilova/NHLI via Getty Images).
This isn't the way Jim O'Brien's one and only world junior experience was supposed to end.

The Ottawa Senators prospect and his United States teammates wore a collective look of shock after falling to Slovakia 5-3 on Friday in a quarter-final stunner at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship. The Americans will now play Russia or the Czech Republic for fifth place in the tournament — far below their stated goals coming into this week's event.

“Any way you cut it, it’s hard to lose this,” said O’Brien, the Senators’ top selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. “We really thought we had a good chance to win it but you know what, in (single elimination) tournaments like this, you run into a hot goalie and the other team plays a great game and it could be over.”

That pretty much summed up the U.S. fortunes today. They held a whopping 49-19 edge in shots on goal but couldn’t solve Slovakia netminder Jaroslav Janus, who flat out stole this one from the Americans in a remarkable display of goaltending.

"Any way you cut it, it's hard to lose this. We really thought we had a good chance to win it but you know what, in (single elimination) tournaments like this, you run into a hot goalie and the other team plays a great game and it could be over." - Jim O'Brien
Still, O’Brien heads back to Seattle and the Western Hockey League’s Thunderbirds with positive thoughts about his first world juniors. He turns 20 at the end of this month, making him ineligible for another crack at it next year.

“It was a great honour to be able to play and represent your country,” he said. “It’s disappointing for it to end like this but I still had a blast. It was a heck of a time and I don’t regret anything.”

O’Brien’s goal gave the U.S. a 3-0 lead over Canada in their New Year’s Eve matchup but the home side roared back for a 7-4 triumph in what is widely being hailed as an all-time world junior classic.

Someday soon, O’Brien hopes to be the one hearing the cheers as a regular in the Senators lineup.

“It’s definitely a great rink and they’ve got very passionate fans here,” he said. “It’s fun to play in that atmosphere.”


SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
3 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
4 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
5 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
6 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
7 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
8 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 62 15 34 1 49
B. Ryan 58 17 31 9 48
K. Turris 62 16 29 -3 45
M. Hoffman 59 23 17 24 40
M. Stone 60 15 25 12 40
M. Zibanejad 60 16 19 3 35
C. MacArthur 53 13 13 -10 26
M. Michalek 57 11 15 -1 26
D. Legwand 60 8 14 -4 22
A. Chiasson 56 9 12 -8 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 13 11 7 .927 2.37
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02