The Americans played their 3rd preliminary game of the World Juniors on Friday against Slovakia. USA looked to take it slow after a hard fought game against the Germans, where they won 6-0. Slovakia’s last game was their upset over defending champion, Finland.
Not a very interesting opening period to start the game. Both teams received a powerplay chance, but were unsuccessful. USA has been seeing some special teams woes so far in the tournament. They are 1 for 13 on the man advantage in the tournament.
What we did see that was normal was shot differential. USA had 10 and Slovakia had 3, which is the type of game that USA plays. Keep the puck away from the opponent, and get pucks on the net. All they need to do is get those pucks in the net.
USA did just that in the 2nd period. Sonny Milano took a pass from Dylan Larkin into the zone, and lifted one over Slovakia goalie Denis Godla.
Then it was back to frustration from USA. They took many shots against Godla, but couldn’t solve him often. If they wanted to keep the game in their favor, they would need to create more quality chances. Slovakia was getting more chances than the Americans. but luckily for them, Thatcher Demko stood tall.
In the 3rd, USA got very lucky. The 2 goals they scored, from Dylan Larkin and John Hayden, were ugly goals from bad shots. They did keep most of the possession though.
Thatcher Demko would get the shutout, for Team USA’s second in a row. The Boston College goalie stopped 17 shots for the Americans, but it was Dylan Larkin receiving player of the game honors.
USA next plays Canada on Wednesday for the final preliminary match. Slovakia plays theirs against Germany.
Hopefully USA can figure out their powerplay by then. It is now at 1 for 15, and a team won’t outscore a highly offensively talented Canada team with stats like that.