James VanRiemsdyk may have had a nightmarish World Junior Championship with team USA, but that didn’t stop the top Flyers’ prospect from finishing the tournament off with an exclamation point.
JVR opted to give up the playmaking role he tried to establish all tournament and take it upon himself to lead the US victory over the Czech Republic, in the lowly fifth place game, Sunday in Ottawa.
With 2:49 left in overtime and the game tied at two, JVR carried the puck deep into the Czech zone. Cutting sharply from left to right into the slot, instead of going backhand off the power move, JVR fired the puck from between his legs and over the right shoulder of a fooled Tomas Vosvrda (45 saves), to give the US the tournament-ending 3-2 victory.
The fifth place finish is disappointing for the US, who were sure of a semi-final berth before being upset by Slovakia, 5-3 and falling out of finals contention.
The tournament was also disappointing on an individual basis for JVR, who despite being USA’s leading scorer, failed to connect on a consistent basis with linemate and Nashville Predator prospect Colin Wilson, whom he had success with in the past. JVR seemed to struggle with the extra attention paid to him by opposing defenses.
VanRiemsdyk, a 6-foot-3, 200 lbs. sophomore at the University of New Hampshire, was drafted by the Flyers second overall in the 2007 NHL draft.