Article written by Ryan Hale - Community Contributor
USA Punches Ticket for Automatic Bye
I don't think anyone, even me, expected this game to really mean anything. However, after Slovenia upset Slovakia yesterday they had a chance to win the group if they could somehow get passed this United States team with a win. If the USA got a win, in any fashion, however they would also earn the coveted automatic bye.
It didn't take very long after the puck drop for the United States to make their presence known. Just a minute into the game Phil Kessel, who is having an outstanding tournament so far, drove up the right hand side, undressed the Slovenia defense and slid the puck past the goaltender to make it 1-0.
That wasn't the last we would hear from Phil Kessel either. Just three minutes later Joe Pavelski made a beautiful saucer pass from below the goal line to the front of the net where Phil was waiting. He was successful in batting it out of the air and into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
After that second goal you could tell it was going to be all USA and Slovenia wasn't going to have the energy to really make a significant bid. But in order to ensure their moral was completely crushed Phil Kessel was able to complete the natural hat trick midway through the third period. All he had to do to get goal number three was tap in a rebound off a shot from the point by JVR.
The USA would go on to add two more beautiful goals. One on a top shelf snipe by Ryan McDonough. Another on a nice crossing pass tap in by David Backes. With the game solidly in hand Ryan Miller who got the start to rest Jonathan Quick gave up a goal with just 18 seconds left in the game to Marcel Rodman who got a blast off from the point.
A solid win for the United States heading into elimination play. It should be interesting to see who they will draw in the tournament. Especially considering that Russia may not even get the 4th automatic bye as they went to another shootout today with Slovakia before they won.
Top US Skaters in Group Stage
- Phil Kessel - 4 goals, 3 assists
- Joe Pavelski - 1 goal, 3 assists
- James Van Riemsdyk - 4 assists
- Jonathan Quick - 51 saves, 3 GA, 94.44%
- Ryan Miller - 17 saves, 1 GA, 94.44%
Note, game time and more info can be found at our schedule!