Saturday, December 28, 2013

USA doubles up Slovakia in Canada tuneup

Team USA showed no signs of slowing down in their Saturday morning conquest of Slovakia.

Twelve different players scored at least one point, and six different skaters hit the back of the net as the Americans won their final contest before a showdown with Canada, 6-3.

Matt Grzelcyk, Jack Eichel, Ryan Hartman, Nic Kerdiles, Andrew Copp and Will Butcher each posted two points for the defending champs, who received 27 saves from Jon Gillies.

It wasn't as easy as the final indicated.

Slovakia cut into Team USA's 3-0 lead with goals 1:53 apart late in the second period by Milan Kolena and Martin Reway, but the Americans didn't gain equilibrium until the middle stages of the third period.

Grzelcyk scored at 9:33 to give them a two-goal cushion, then Stefan Matteau and Riley Barber pumped home two more against Richard Sabol in a 2:19 spread in the late stages to finally put their foes to rest.

Reway capped the scoring with 2:08 left in regulation. Sabol ended up with 41 saves in defeat.

The Americans peppered Sabol throughout the opening period, but didn't break through until late, when Eichel opened the scoring at 16:53 and Dan O'Regan beat the buzzer by one second.

Hartman pushed the edge to 3-0 with 4:22 elapsed in the second period.

The schedule-makers give the 2-0 Americans one more game in preparation for the New Year's Eve clash against the rival Canadians -- playing Germany tomorrow. 

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