Team USA's Second Period Onslaught Too Much For Team Slovakia

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA started out its Olympic campaign with a bang on Thursday in a meeting with familiar foes Team Slovakia. The first period started out with each of the teams getting a feel for the ice and their teammates. There was a bit of sloppiness here and there but on the whole, Team USA seemed to gel quite nicely as the game went on.  John Carlson got the USA on the board late in the first period after James van Riemsdyk sent a pass to Phil Kessel who then left a drop pass for Carlson who beat Jaroslav Halak high stick side.

The second period started with a nice play by Marian Hossa who waited at the blue line after getting the puck on a Ryan Suter turnover and then fed the puck to Tomas Tatar. Tatar made some nice moves and scored on USA goalie Jonathan Quick. Replays showed that Tatar never actually "tagged up" and was thus offside when he scored, but the goal stood. That tying goal seemed to flip a switch with Team USA, because the rest of the second period was an absolute onslaught of offense. Patrick Kane skated around as is his habit and fed Ryan Kesler at the top of the right circle who blasted it home to give Team USA a lead that it would never look back from. Moments later, Max Pacioretty drove the net causing Halak to come far out of position and Paul Stastny grabbed the rebound and put it home to make the game 4-1 in favor of Team USA.

USA had a power play that generated a net front scramble as the man advantage expired and led to Kessel, van Riemsdyk and David Backes volleying the puck around for an eventual goal. Backes appeared to have tipped the puck in for the goal after van Riemsdyk flipped a backhander toward the net from his knees. Stastny netted his second goal of the game on a beautiful cross ice pass from Kevin Shattenkirk that chased Halak from the game in favor of Peter Budaj. On the first shot Budaj faced, Team USA caught Team Slovakia in a change. Zach Parise found Kesler with a stretch pass, which Kesler dropped back for the trailing van Riemsdyk, who blasted it toward the net where Kessel was waiting to deflect it in. Team USA's final goal was set up by Patrick Kane again. Kane skated around and through the entire Slovakian team and bounced the puck off of the right boards for Carlson. Carlson sent it cross ice where Dustin Brown was waiting to tip it in.

The third period featured a push by Team Slovakia; however, the formidable fore-check of Team USA as well as tenacious back-checking and defensive play made their dreams of a comeback all for not. Near the start of the third period, Kesler intercepted a pass near center ice and lost his footing in the neutral zone sending him careening into the right leg of Michal Handzus. Handzus was down on the ice for a few moments but was able to return to the bench. He was flexing his leg quite a bit but came back into the game shortly thereafter, so he's seems to have avoided any serious injury. Marian Hossa played a wonderful game and frankly, his line with Handzus and Tatar was the most effective and dangerous for Team Slovakia throughout the game.

Team/Situation

Period 1

Period 2

Period 3

Totals

USA vs SVK

2-13-14

Corsi For

CF%

Corsi For

CF%

Corsi For

CF%

Corsi For

CF%

USA/5v5

22

59.46%

27

51.92%

14

35.90%

63

49.22%

SVK/5v5

15

40.54%

25

48.08%

25

64.10%

65

50.78%

USA/5v4

3

100%

6

85.71%

N/A

N/A

9

90.0%

SVK/5v4

N/A

N/A

2

100%

N/A

N/A

2

100%

USA/4v5

N/A

N/A

0

0.0%

N/A

N/A

0

0.0%

SVK/4v5

0

0.0%

1

14.29%

N/A

N/A

1

10.0%

*all data manually tracked by Jen LC (@bhawksfanjen)

At Score Close, Team USA out possessed Team Slovakia to the tune of 30 Corsi For versus 18 Corsi For, which gives us a total figure for Team USA at 5 on 5 Score Close of 62.5%.

Team USA will play Team Russia on Saturday, February 15th at 7:30 a.m. eastern. Team Slovakia will play Team Slovenia on Saturday, February 15th at 3:00 a.m. eastern.

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