The United States opened the tournament today against the Slovaks, with what was expected to be a pretty easy game for the United States.
From out of the gate, the US team looked sluggish and not taking it seriously. The top line of Ryan Poehling, Josh Norris, and Robertson were the most noticeable of the 4 lines of the US. With an early chance that Josh Norris flubbed, they were the team’s best line tonight.
This was Jack Hughes’ World Junior debut and as a 17 year old, he was what you expected, small and shifty. Creating chances in front of the net and making life difficult for defenders and even tallying his first point of the tournament on the US first goal by Mikey Anderson.
The US scored another quick goal after that with Evan Barrett picking up the goal. Weirdly enough the game had 2 penalty shots in it, with Kyle Keyser stopping it for the Americans, maintaining the 1 goal lead. Despite the 41 shots the team put towards the net, we have not seen the top notch offense we were expecting from the Americans.
The story of the game was the one stopping all those shots, Samuel Hlavaj came up big for the Slovakians giving them every opportunity to win the game on the lone goal by Marek Korencik, but the waves from the Americans finally beat down the Slovak wall. Final score 2-1. The US plays their second game against Kazakhstan on the 28th.
Photo Credit – USA Hockey
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