This afternoon in Sochi Team USA dominated Slovakia en route to a 7-1 victory in the opening game for both squads. The game, which got off to a blistering pace and was full of physical play, quickly got out of hand for Slovakia after the Americans scored six straight goals during a 14 minute span in the second period.
The game did not start so lopsided though, as after the first period it was 1-0. The lone goal was scored by the U.S. by defenseman John Carlson with just over five minutes left to play in the first period. He joined a rush that was started on the defensive end by Joe Pavelski who got the puck up the ice up quickly. From there Phil Kessel gained the offensive zone., dropped the puck off the Carlson, and he then fired a slapshot high to the blocker side to give Team USA the lead after the first intermission.
In the second Slovakia would tie the game 24 seconds into the period on what looked to be an offside play. The goal was scored by Tomas Tatar with Marian Hossa getting credit for the assist. That would be the lone Slovakia goal, however, as after that the Americans turned it on.
They proceeded to score six unanswered goals and thus quelling much hope for an upset in the first game for Slovakia. The goals scored in the second period were in a variety of ways as well from great playmaking, great shots, as well as a couple of scrappy goals. The goalscorers were Ryan Kessler, Paul Stastny (who scored twice), David Backes, Phil Kessel, and Dustin Brown.
In the third period things calmed down and there were no more goals to be had. Still, it was good to see the U.S. squad keep the pressure on rather than sit back and get complacent. Slovakia did the same, but Jonathan Quick was big when he had to be in net for the U.S. In all he stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced.
It was a great start for the American side who had a very strong game from start to finish. They weathered the best Slovakia had to offer to start the game, then went on a tear themselves in the second before locking it down defensively in the third. Their next game is the host country Russia which will be their toughest game during the group stage.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Phil Kessel (1 goal, 2 assists)
2. Paul Stastny (2 goals)
3. John Carlson (1 goal, 1 assist)