Finland played an outstanding game to win the gold, while the USA played a great game to win the bronze. Here are five final thoughts about everything from the games to my experience at the Ralph.
1.Jesse Puljujarvi is an amazing player. He made so many great passes in his short time at the tournament. His hands are Nick Backstrom’esque. The Finnish winger has a shot that rivals Alex Ovechkin. The team that team drafts him will not be sorry. Puljujarvi could play as a scoring winger on an NHL team’s third line next year.
2.Minus the final game against the Americans, Evan Fitzpatrick was superb. He was cool and calm in net for team Canada. He kept them in every game he started. The Canadian goalie made some nice saves while displaying a strong rebound control.He also made some nice outlet passes during the tournament as well. Look for him to be drafted by the end of the third round.
3.The fan experience at the Ralph was great. I enjoyed the Lamplighter lounge setup from its buffet to its copious concession options. The buffet for ten dollars was an outstanding value. The hockey hot stove series was also well done. General Manager Jody Hodgson should be commended for the work he put in to make the fan experience world-class. The Ralph showed that it can host events like these, and hopefully is able to host more of these international events in the near future.
4.Kudos to the TSN team. Brian Mudryk and Craig Button are consummate professionals and did an excellent job broadcasting the games.They conveyed a reasoned amount of excitement for all teams involved.I learned a lot of background on all of the players they talked about.They made the upcoming draft even more interesting thanks to their copious amounts of research. The entire broadcast team did an excellent job of promoting Grand Forks,The Ralph Englestad Arena, and the University of North Dakota. In addition, the team did a superb job covering all of the different teams and backstories throughout the tournament.
5. North Dakota Fighting Hawks commit Tyson Jost was outstanding during this tournament. He elevated his draft stock to the top half of the board for sure. He could go top ten. Jost is an outstanding two way player and setup his line mates multiple times throughout the tournament. As Craig Button would say, his “Ice Q” or his hockey intelligence on the ice is very high.North Dakota fans would rejoice if Jost stayed at UND for more than one year. If Jost had to, he could play in the AHL tomorrow.