By Gary R. Blockus | Nov. 12, 2017, 2:18 p.m. (ET)
Andy Miele competes against Germany at the Deutschland Cup 2017 at Curt-Frenzel-Stadion on Nov. 12, 2017 in Augsburg, Germany.

 

The results may not have been what Team USA fans were hoping for, but the 2017 Deutschland Cup in Augsburg, Germany, wasn’t meant to be judged on wins and losses.

The U.S. men’s hockey team ended the 2017 four-team round robin winless in three games after finishing second in 2015 and first in 2013, but this season’s first tournament was focused on player evaluation for potential inclusion on the 2018 Olympic team.

“We’ve done some really good things here,” Team USA head coach Tony Granato said prior to the 5-1 loss Germany to conclude the tournament on Sunday.

“Today is another step in the process in building toward PyeongChang and as a coaching staff we’ve really enjoyed this group of players and have liked what we’ve seen,” said Granato, who will also coach 2018 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team.

The NHL is not allowing its players to compete in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, ending a string of five straight Olympic Winter Games with NHL inclusion. Team USA will be comprised of players currently in Europe, college, or not under NHL contract and playing in minor leagues.

Team USA lost its opener 2-1 to Slovakia and then fell 5-2 to Russia before being defeated by Germany.

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In Friday’s opening round game, Team USA outshot Slovakia 36-16, but Slovakia jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Bobby Sanguinetti put the U.S. scored on from the left circle with 6:29 left to play on assists from Jonathan Blum and Garrett Roe. Granato pulled goaltender David Leggio for the final 2:23 but Team USA could not find the equalizer.

Team USA lead 2-0 in its first-ever Deutschland Cup game against Russia on Saturday. First-period goals by Mark Arcobello and Chad Kolarik put the Americans on top after the first 20 minutes. Kolarik and Ryan Gunderson assisted on Arcobello’s goal just 50 seconds in, and Arcobello and Ryan Stoa assisted on Kolarik’s goal.

Russia countered with three power-play goals over a 3:43 span in the second period to take over the game before eventually winning 5-2. Team USA goalie Brandon Maxwell, the third goalie used by head coach Tony Granato in the first two games, made 21 saves.

Broc Little scored Team USA’s lone goal against the Germans, cutting the host team’s lead to 4-1 in the second period. Goalie Ryan Zapolski played the whole game and took the loss.

The American roster included Dan Sexton, Dylan Reese, Kolarik and Zapolski, who were all members of the 2013 Deutschland Cup-winning team. The Team USA roster had 11 players with previous Deutschland Cup experience, and 20 with IIHF World Championship experience.

Former NHL player Ryan Malone, who played for the silver medal-winning Olympic team in 2010, and 2006 Olympian Brian Gionta, who won a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils, were also on the Deutschland Cup roster. Gionta served as team captain.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.