Team USA remains undefeated at World Juniors

Bruce Bennett

The Americans played two games against Slovakia and Germany this past weekend and came away with two dominant victories.

Team USA met a surprisingly resilient Slovakian team early Saturday morning in a game that would test whether or not the Americans are a legitimate contender this year. Similar to their start against the Czech's the US side would capitalize on the Slovak team taking penalties and convert them into 2 powerplay goals, one from Jack Eichel and the other from Danny O'Regan in the 1st period to jump out to an early 2-0 lead.

4:22 into the 2nd period Ryan Hartman would put home another goal for Team USA and put them in the drivers seat with a 3-0 lead. However some poor discipline would lead to 2 Slovakian goals in the 2nd period including one by WJC leading scorer and Habs prospect Martin Reway that brought the Slovaks within 1 goal. The 3rd period however would be all Team USA as Matt Grzelcyk, Stefan Matteau and Riley Barber scored to put the US up 6-2 with a little over 3 minutes remaining in the 3rd. Reway would do his best to make a game of it and put him his 2nd goal of the game but it was too little too late as the US came away with a 6-3 win. Goalie Jon Gillies stopped 27 shots and Grzelcyk and Reway were named "Players of the Game".

The Americans took to the ice again on Sunday against a German side that presented a challenge that was roughly the size of Jake Paterson's save percentage against the Czechs. On the second half of a back to back starter Jon Gillies was given the game off and the London Knights Anthony Stolarz was given the reigns. Stolarz didn't have much work in net as he stopped all 15 shots the Germans fired at him for an easy shutout win.

The Americans offense rolled over the German side with 14 players registering at least 1 point and 5 players having multi-point games. Hudon Fasching and Nic Kerdiles scored in the 1st to put the US up 2-0 and in the 2nd the US offense would explode for 4 goals from Will Butcher, Vince Hinostroza, Riley Barber, and Matt Grzelcyk to put Team USA firmly in control at 6-0. The 3rd period would hold much of the same as Steve Santini scored on the powerplay and Hinostroza put home his second goal of the game to finish the 8-0 decimation of the Germans.

Team USA outshot Germany 53-15 and went 6 for 10 on the powerplay in addition to going perfect on the penalty kill.

The Americans now sit atop their division at 3-0-0 with 9 points and need only 1 point against Canada to lock up the top spot going into the elimination round and the two teams will clash on New Years Eve in what should be a fast paced and entertaining game.

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