Monday, September 7, 2009
On this date in 2004, the United States squared off against Russia in the Quarter Finals of the World Cup of Hockey in St. Paul, Minnesota. Russia had already beaten Team USA in North American Pool play only four days earlier by a score of 3-1. The United States brought a 1-2 record into the game and was a -1 in goals scored in tournament, so no one really expected what happened next during a game I was fortunate to be able to attend in person.
At 10:20 of the first period Mike Modano set up a goal by Keith Tkachuk to give the USA a 1-0 lead.
Tkachuk would score again at just 1:56 of the second period from Bill Guerin and Modano to extend the lead out to 2-0, but Dimtry Afanasenkov would pull one back for Russia at 7:14 from Artem Chubarov and Sergei Gonchar.
Danius Zubrus would stun the crowd of 17,218 with a tying goal at just 36 seconds of the third period from team captain Alexi Yashin and Darius Kasparitis, but the tide would turn back in favor of the Americans at 4:25 when Scott Gomez would put Team USA back in front with an assist from Tkachuk. While the crowd was still celebrating the Gomez goal, Tkachuk would complete the hat trick just 22 second later at 4:47 with the assists once again going to Guerin and Modano to put the USA up by two once more.
The Russians were far from done however, as Ilya Kovalchuk would pull the Russians within 1 at 11:04 from Sergei Samsonov and Alexi Kovalev with plenty of time remaining.
Robert Esche held strong in the Team USA goal and Keith Tkachuk completed his magical night with his fourth goal into an empty net at 19:05 from Modano (who assisted on all four of Tkachuk's goals) and Brian Rafalski, to eliminate the Russians from the competition.
Not surprisingly, the three stars of the game were Tkachuk (4 goals, 1 assist), Modano (4 assists) and Guerin (2 assists).
Today's featured jersey is a 2004 Team USA Keith Tkachuk jersey with the assistant captain's "A", 2004 World Cup of Hockey patch, plus the addition of the IIHF patch located on the back of the jersey at the bottom.
Here are the highlights of Tkachuk's four goal, five point night. Yes, that is a very young Alexander Ovechkin you may notice playing only his third game in North America prior to his NHL debut, which would have to wait until October of 2005 due to the lockout which would begin the day after the 2004 World Cup of Hockey concluded.