Americans steamroll Czechs, remain perfect
The United States, three-time defending world champions of the U18 category, were in top form in Břeclav against the host Czechs, winning 5-0. For two periods they were overwhelming in their dominance, before coasting to victory in the third.
Penalties: 1:3, plus Slováček (CZE) 5 minut + OK. PP goals: 2:0. SH goals: 0:0.
Referees: Gofman, Sjoqvist - Ponomrjow, Shikhanov. Attendance: 1857.
On Saturday afternoon, their performance was dominant. In the first period, they outshot the host Czechs 15-2, though they only managed to score once: a one-timer from Nicolas Kerdiles on a set-up from Daniel O’Reagan. In the second period, they broke it open.
The game was costly for the Czechs. Not only did they lose the game, but they also may have lost their starting goaltender, Marek Langhamer, for the duration of the tournament. With less than seven minutes remaining in the third period, in a scramble around the Czech goal, a group of players fell on the Czech keeper, bending him over backward. He needed to be helped from the ice, not able to put any pressure on his knee. His status remains uncertain, pending a medical examination.
For the first half of the game, it was Langhamer, the fifth ranked European goaltender for the 2012 NHL Draft, who had kept his team in the game. The Americans did not score their second goal until the 29th minute, when Jacob Trouba sent a blast off the back crossbar that needed video replay to confirm.
“It was on a power play and I got the puck and saw a couple of guys in front, so I sent it over to Trouba for a one-timer,” said defenceman Seth Jones, on the first of his three points in the game. Three minutes later, on another power play, it was Trouba who set up Jones for another one-time goal to make it 3-0.
For the Czechs, it appeared their game plan was to play aggressively against the Americans, but it bordered on undisciplined at times as they spent a lot of time in the penalty box. The worst of it came late in the second period when Ondřej Slováček pushed Kyle Osterberg from behind into the boards and was given a major penalty and game misconduct for checking from behind. He might face further discipline, as Osterberg was down for a time and needed to be helped from the ice.
In addition to Jones and Trouba, O´Reagan and Ryan Hartman had two-point games.
“The three points are huge for us,” Jones said afterward. “We´ve got a couple of other strong teams in the group, so we want to make sure we pick up as many points as we can and hopefully get that bye heading into the medal round.”
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Best goaltender: Collin Olson (USA)
Best defenseman: Matt Dumba (CAN)
Best forward: Filip Forsberg (SWE)