BOSTON (CBS) — After backstopping a 7-1 victory over Slovakia on Thursday, Jonathan Quick will start in net for Team USA on Saturday against Russia.
U.S. head coach Dan Bylsma made the announcement, which was somewhat surprising. Given Ryan Miller’s performance four years ago for Team USA, it stood to reason that Bylsma would alternate starting goalies in the first two games of the tournament and then ride the hot hand, so to speak.
But this decision makes a statement loud and clear: Quick is USA’s No. 1 goalie.
“He played real well in Game 1,” Bylsma said after Friday’s practice. “I thought there were periods of inactivity in that game and he had to stay sharp, stay focused, and it was followed by two or three big saves he had to make. I thought he played real well in the game, and again in the next game he will.”
While the call for Quick may show the team’s preferred goaltender, Miller could still start on Sunday against the less-potent Slovenians to prevent Quick from playing back-t0-back days prior to the playoff round next week.
Saturday’s game may be the biggest non-elimination game of the whole tournament, as the U.S. will have to face the hosts, a Russian squad that faltered early in its debut but recovered in time to beat Slovenia 5-2.
“I’m sure it’s going to be loud, and a lot of emotion in the arena, so we’re looking forward to it,” Quick said. “This is the kind of game that you want to play, that you want to be a part of, so it’s going to be fun.”
Visit CBSBoston.com during the USA-Russia game on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET for a live blog as both teams try to improve to 2-0 in the preliminary round.