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Big second period lifts the USA past Slovakia

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The US men’s hockey team opened the 2014 Olympics with a 7-1 rout of Slovakia Thursday at Shayba Arena.

The United States turned a 1-1 game into a four-goal lead in a 12 minute and four second span in the second period.

Ryan Kesler one-timed a pass from Patrick Kane one minute and two seconds after Slovakia tied the game and the US never looked back.

The US had full control of the game as they chased Slovakian goaltender Jaroslav Halak at the 13:30 mark of the second period. The US scored five goals on 25 shots before Peter Budaj entered the game just past the midway point of the game.

The US kept the pressure on the Slovakian goaltenders and scored two more goals in the middle frame. Budaj entered the third period allowing two goals on two shots.

The two teams played back-and-forth more conservative hockey that resulted in just a few Slovakian scoring chances and six shots apiece.

Paul Statsny was a big part of the scoring spree with two goals. Both were tap-in short range shots. The first came on a wide open net rebound off a one-time shot by Max Pacioretty and the second came on a shot off a Kevin Shattenkirk pass.

The two Wild players played quite a few minutes, but failed to get on the scoresheet. Zach Parise was held without a shot on goal while playing 17 minutes and three seconds. Ryan Suter did not get a shot on goal, but had a plus-two rating in 19 minutes and 46 seconds of ice time.

Three Stars

No. 3 - Paul Statsny. The US forward scored two goals.

No. 2 - Phil Kessel. The US forward recorded a goal and an assist.

No. 1 - James van Riemsdyk. The US forward recorded two assists.

Boxscore

Slovakia……0 1 0 - 1

USA…..……1 6 0 - 7

First Period - 1, USA, Carlson 1 (Kessel, van Riemsdyk), 14:27. Penalties - Marcinko, SVK (interference), 9:59.

Second Period - 2, Slovakia, Tatar 1 (Marian Hossa), :24. 3, USA, Kesler 1 (Kane), 1:26. 4, USA, Statsny 1 (Pacioretty, Oshie), 2:32. 5, USA, Backes 1 (Kessel), 8:16. 6, USA, Statsny 2 (Shattenkirk, Oshie), 13:30. 7, USA, Kessel 1 (van Riemsdyk, Kesler), 14:20. 8, USA, Brown 1 (Carlson, Kane), 15:17. Penalties - Vydareny, SVK (tripping), 6:09; Kessel, USA (slashing),18:10 .

Third Period - None. Penalties - None.

Shots on goal - Slovakia 4-13-6 23. USA 11-16-6 33.

Goalies - Slovakia, Halak (20-25), Budaj (6-8). USA, Quick (22-23). Referees - Antonin Jerabek, Kevin Pollock. Linesmen - Mark Wheler, Jesse Wilmot.

Other Wild player updates from Sochi

Mikael Granlund led Finland’s 8-4 win over Austria with two goals and an assist in Friday’s opener. He recorded his first goal at the 5:15 mark of the first to tie the game and get Finland on the board. He assisted on Finland’s second goal of the second period to give them a four-goal lead. He finally capped the scoring late in the third period on the power play. Finland outshot Austria 52-20.

Switzerland defeated Latvia 1-0 on a goal with 7.9 seconds remaining in the third period of Thursday’s opener. Nino Niederreiter was in front of the net and was initially credited with the goal, but Simon Moser’s pass glanced into the net off the Latvian defenseman. Niederreiter finished the contest with four shots on goal and a plus-one rating.

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