The Americans took care of business Thursday afternoon in Vancouver, beating Norway 6-1 to improve to 2-0 headed into a battle with Canada on Sunday.
Looking at the numbers not just the score, it's easy to think the US dominated the Norwegians. And on most levels they did. Out shooting them 39-11 in the game, and dwarfing them in scoring chances practically all game long.
Toronto Maple Leaf Phil Kessel opened the scoring only 2:39 into the 1st period. A great pass from Joe Pavelski hit Kessel at full speed in the neutral zone, Kessel took care of the rest getting behind the defensemen and putting the puck past Grotnes. The Rangers Chris Drury scored about 10 minutes later off of a rebound to give the US a 2-0 lead going into the 2nd period.
The Blackhawks Patrick Kane opened the scoring in the 2nd on a rebound off of a Zach Parise slap shot. A few minutes later Norway got on the board with a short-handed goal by Marius Holtet. Holtet scored after a US defensemen found himself caught to deep in the offensive zone leaving only Jack Johnson back to defend the 2-on-1.
After the short-handed goal the Norwegians played with greater enthusiam. Taking the play to the young US team, finishing checks and forechecking well. Buffalo's Ryan Miller fought off a few good chances by Norway to keep the score at 3-1 heading into the 3rd period.
The first 15 minutes or so of the 3rd period where similar to the last few minutes of the 2nd. With the Norwegians fore-checking well and giving the US fits in their own zone. The only difference was the US defense clamped down a bit and limited them to only 2 shots in the period.
Ryan Malone finally lit the lamp to take some pressure off the United States, scoring 14:19 into the 3rd Period. Brian Rafalski would add two more goals, including a power play goal, in the last 3 minutes of the game to give the US a 6-1 victory.
While the score may have been in favor of the US, they certainly have a lot to improve on if they expect to beat power house Canada on Sunday. For one the US team allowed far too many odd man rushes, and at times looked too often for the perfect pass. If not for the stellar goaltending in the 2nd by Ryan Miller the game could have been a lot different heading into the 3rd. Another worry is the Americans power play, which went 1-5 against Norway. Something that must improve if they're to have a chance against the rest of the World's tougher competition.
Next Up For USA:
Sunday: USA vs CAN 7:45 PM
TV Coverage: MSNBC, CTV, V
About the Author
Written by Mike Santa Barbara
Sports writer covering mostly Philadelphia sports for over 10 years. Work has been featured on RealGM.com, GCobb.com and Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia (CSNPhilly.com.)