After struggling to find any luck against Ilya Samsonov and the Russians on Thursday, the Americans had no issue dominating their Slovak opponents, taking the 10-0 victory on day two of the Under-18 World Championships.
The Americans only needed 1:09 to take the 1-0 lead right away. The Americans forced goaltender Vladimir Cibulka to face a couple of tough shots right away, but it would be Troy Terry’s bait that would get deflected right off of Cibulka and right back on to Terry’s blade, who backhanded it over the Slovak netminder for the 1-0 goal. The decision to start Cibulka was questionable due to the fact that Adam Huska made 36 saves yesterday in a surprising 3-1 victory over Sweden, but Cibulka made a couple of solid stops to start a very one-sided period.
The trio of Jack Roslovic, Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk appeared to be the best line after two games, but it took them a bit to finally break the ice offensively. At 10:47 into the first, Roslovic sent the puck in front of the net to Tkachuk in front of the net, and potential top ten selection in the 2016 NHL Draft jammed the puck between the legs of Cibulka to give the Americans the 2-0 lead with half the period still to play.
The American power-play was dominant every time it was deployed, and four minutes after Tkachuk put the Americans up by two while playing with the extra man, one of his linemates would do the same thing to make it 3-0. This time, it would be Roslovic who would get the marker, converting a good passing play between Tkachukand Matthews into an easy empty cage marker. Roslovic would add another similar goal with under two minutes to play in the period, redirecting a pass from Matthews in front to secure the 4-0 lead heading into the intermission.
The Americans would make it 5-0 just 28 seconds into the second period, and, surprise surprise, it would come from the top American line. After Roslovic kept the puck from leaving the zone, Tkachuk found an uncontested Matthews in front of the net, who slammed it past the Slovakian netminder for the five goal advantage. Four minutes later, Tkachuk passed the puck to Matthews once again in front of the net, scoring his second goal and fifth point of the game after his one-timer served to be way too powerful for Cibulka to stop.
Goal differential does play a factor in tie-breaking scenarios, so the Americans weren’t ready to back down. Before the period was half over, 2015 NHL Draft prospects Jeremy Bracco and Casey Fitzgerald made Slovakia’s game much, much more painful, eventually chasing Cibulka in favour of Huska in an 8-0 game. Another new scorer, Luke Kunin, would add to the lead just over ten seconds before the halfway mark, potting a nice goal to give his team the 9-0 lead.
In a game like this, you would expect the Americans to be absolutely crushing Slovakia on the shot clock. While that was true, Mike Floodstrand gave the Americans their 10th goal on just their 27th shot, giving them a 37% shooting percentage by the 30-minute mark in the contest. Floodstrand’s goal was the final one for the Americans as they finally decided that ten goals was enough, securing the easy 10-0 victory to grab their first win of the championship.
USA will look for their second victory on Sunday when they take on Sweden at 11am EST before battling Germany in the final pre-tournament game on Monday.
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