Going into Thursday morning’s game against Slovakia, there was some uncertainty with the United States’ men’s hockey team. Would they be able to continue their magic from four years ago? After 60 minutes of play, the answer is a thundering yes.
The United States scored six unanswered goals in the second period to rout the Slovakians by a score of 7-1. John Carlson, Ryan Kesler and David Backes scored for the USA. Paul Stasny scored a pair and Dustin Brown as well as Phil Kessel also scored one goal each.
From the drop of the puck, the Americans controlled every aspect of the game. Speed was their main weapon in overwhelming the Slovakian defense. The forwards would often drive wide or use their speed to open up the middle of the ice to attack the Slovakian zone. Their passing was crisp and on the tape and at times it looked like the Americans were toying with the Slovakians. A young defensive core showed no signs of inexperience. They made play after play to jump start the offense and suffocated the Slovakian forwards.
Slovakian goalie Jaroslav Halak was peppered with shots during the first period but had answers for all of them, except one.
Phil Kessel cut into the zone and dropped a pass to John Carlson who scored to put the Americans on top 1-0. Slovakia countered with several chances of their own, but Johnathan Quick made several saves to keep the lead going into the intermission.
Less than thirty seconds into the second period, Slovakia broke through for their first and only goal of the game. Tomas Tatar scored to tie the game. A replay of the goal showed Tatar was offsides, and it looked as if the game would go back and forth. That was until Kesler scored less than a minute later to give the USA a 2-1 lead. Just over a minute later, Stasny scored off of a rebound, and the rout had begun.
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros played for 13:56, did not register a point, and was not on the ice for a United States goal. Meszaros looked relatively good during the few minutes he was out there, but the story of the game was the USA domination.
The United States will face Russia Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m.