Earlier today the highly touted Czechs gave the heavily favored Canadians a closer call by taking them to overtime. Could the Slovaks do the same thing to the favored Americans tonight.
Well so far the Americans are showing no signs of taking their opposition too lightly. They came with better tempo than we saw from Team Canada and in the 2nd half of the period ripped off three goals to grab a solid lead.
Two common trends on all three goals--great speed by Team USA to create odd man rush chances. But the USA hasn't scored off the initial rush, but rebound chances that come from the rush. The Slovakia defensemen have been late coming back hard after when the USA gets an odd man rush. On two of the goals they USA didn't score until the third shot in a series.
Kevin Lynch who had a big night against Finland has remained red hot scoring the first two goals (I interviewed Lynch and will post it here soon).
I missed the start of the 2nd because I was interviewing Thrashers GM Don Waddell (I should have that up in a few days).
Now as the game has entered the 2nd period the USA continues to have a step on the Slovaks as they hang on and try on against a faster team.
USA goes up 5-0 with an entertaining goal that hit the netminder and fluttered up and over his shoulder and into the net. The Slovak defensemen tried desperately to knock it out of the air but just missed before it found the net.
Kenny Ryan comes of the USA bench and the Slovak defense don't notice him, but his teammate does, and fires a hard pass to spring him for a huge breakaway, he drives the slot, cuts left and goes top shelf to make it 7-0.
The USA has added 5 more goals to make it 12-0 with about one minute left. Unfortunately the way these international tournaments are set up goal differential is one tie breaker and therefore teams have an incentive to keep scoring even in a blow out. Furthermore, there are 100+ scouts wearing their regulation black windbreakers standing around waiting to be impressed and the young men on Team USA are doing their best to oblige.
At the end of the game Thrashers GM Don Waddell presented the Players of the Game awards to both teams. Kevin Lynch probably whispered "draft me."