Team USA swarms Team Slovakia and wins 7-1 - New York News

Team USA swarms Team Slovakia and wins 7-1

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

In their opening match Team USA started out on the right foot and overwhelmed Team Slovakia 7-1. A question mark coming into Olympic action was whether Team USA could generate enough scoring. At least for one game the US proved they would have no problem scoring goals.

The Americans established control with a strong forecheck and eventually the Slovaks cracked. The US cycle game was very good and they erupted for six straight second period goals to lead 7-1 after 40 minutes of play.

Team USA was as dominant as the score. The US attack was relentless and left Slovakia tired and bewildered.

It is more difficult to play defense and chasing the puck is never a good thing, especially on a larger ice surface. Slovakia would need a great goaltending performance from Jaroslav Halak and that wasn't to be. Halak was chased after the fifth US goal. His replacement Peter Budaj soon surrendered two more goals.

The start of the game featured the US trying to establish a quick pace and they were given the opportunity to do so. American forwards were not challenged until they got inside the offensive zone. Slovakia was content to concede puck possession to the speedy Americans but looked to keep the play on the perimeter.

For the most part in the opening frame the US couldn't get inside to generate prime scoring chances. The US was able to keep the pressure on the Slovaks as the shots were 11-4, and scoring chances favored the Americans 8-4.

What the US wanted to do was control play in the neutral zone and to start rushes off of turnovers. That's exactly what happened and resulted in defenseman John Carlson scoring a goal on his first shot in an Olympic game.

The US led by only one goal entering the second period but the dam was soon to break. Team USA was using their speed to control the puck and to get into prime scoring areas.

In the middle frame the US established a strong forecheck and created turnovers. The Slovaks felt the pressure and coughed up the puck which led to US goals. Team USA put on a clinic and made the most of opportunities.

Early in period two Slovakia scored to even the game at one after a blown offside call. Marian Hossa retrieved a turnover by Ryan Suter and fed a nifty pass to Tomas Tatar who beat Jonathan Quick with a wrist shot to the glove side.

Hossa picked up the puck after it was well past the blueline and the whistle should have sounded. Hossa and Tatar were the best players for Team Slovakia.

It was an obvious blown call by the linesman but the US didn't sulk.

Once Slovakia scored the US responded 1:02 later and then continued the charge by scoring six consecutive goals in the middle frame. Slovakia had no answers as they chased Team USA throughout the period.

The US kept control in the final period and Slovakia wasn't able to generate many scoring chances. Quick played a solid game as did the rest of his mates. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was very good and recorded an assist on two shots.

Patrick Kane was involved and had a nice game but the same could be said about many US forwards. Head coach Dan Bylsma couldn't have asked for a better start as every line was effective. Kane played to his strength and was able to create offense.

Kane played alongside Ryan Kesler and picked up two assists and recorded two shots. Paul Stastny was playing on the fourth line, and he recorded two goals. Phil Kessel had four shots and recorded a goal and two assists. Other US scorers were Carlson, Kesler, David Backes and Dustin Brown.

The US will face a stiff challenge on Saturday when they face Team Russia. Bylsma may want to stick with a winning lineup. If so, that would leave goalie Ryan Miller on the bench in favor of Quick. The Russians won their first match defeating Slovenia 5-2.

I will be back later Thursday following Team Canada's game and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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