International Ice Hockey Federation

Tourney's biggest victory

US finish preliminary round with offensive bang

Published 21.04.2015 21:10 GMT+2 | Author Chapin Landvogt
Tourney's biggest victory
LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 21: USA's Auston Matthews #19, Jack Roslovic #28 and Matthew Tkachuk #7 celebrate after a first period goal against Germany's Mirko Pantkowski #1 during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
The situation was clear coming in: Germany had no choice but to gain three points against the USA to even have a chance to avoid the relegation round.

Even with a regulation time victory, and thus 3 full points, Germany would also have to see Sweden lose to Russia in this evening’s match-up. But for now, the Germans could only control what they’d bring against a Team USA that could finish no worse than third and no better than second.

Germany’s first power play came at the 15:15 mark, but the US’s strong penalty killing unit gave them nothing to work with, even getting a 2-on-1 of its own. Goaltender Mirko Pantkowski came up with the big save as Brendan Warren walked in on goal alone and tried to deke him out.

The big save wasn’t there a few minutes later when a good bit of offensive zone cycling led to a US goal by Jack Roslovic at the 12:37 mark.

The next US goal came at 9:28 on another shot from several meters away from the goal. Underage captain Luke Kunin got the tally giving the US a 2-0 lead after the team had spent several minutes uninterrupted on the attack.

It didn’t take long for the USA get back on the scoreboard. Down one man, Germany could do little but watch the US set up and move the puck at will, until a tick, tack, toe play resulted in another Roslovic goal, assisted by Auston Matthews and Chad Krys. Not a minute later, at the 6:41 point, the game was basically put out of reach as another wave of attack saw Matthews take a pass from Matthew Tkachuk and proceed to walk in on goal and wrist a shot by Pantkowski.

The Germans showed a much different face coming out of the locker room for the second period, playing more enthusiastic and disciplined. Getting a power play at the 17:15 mark, they didn’t wait long to score on a shot from just below the point. Simon Schutz got the goal on passes from the Maximilians Daubner and Glassl.

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All this did was re-awaken the Americans, whose constant attack led to a quick power play which the team used to gain a 5-1 lead. After a pass to Christian Fischer in the slot, who wristed a shot on goal, Colin White was able to get a stick on the rebound and tap it in.

A US power play shortly thereafter turned into 4-on-4 play, which turned into 4-on-3 play for the US. In a beautiful display of skating and passing prowess, Jeremy Bracco found Charlie McAvoy who found a wide open Kunin, who found a wide open net and gave the US a 6-1 lead.

A 7-1 lead was obtained when Troy Terry walked in from the left side of the German goal after a lovely pass from Caleb Jones and confidently deked out Pantkowski, sliding the puck between his legs.

The lead was pushed to 8-1 when a feed to the upper middle blueline from behind the net found a wide open Nick Boka, who seemed to have an eternity to pick out a corner and rocket in a very precise wrist shot.

While shorthanded, captain Kunin completed the hattrick with only 1:47 left to play in the period after a solid pass from Jordan Greenway on a 2-on-1 break.

The third period saw the tempo drop a bit and so too did the determination. With about 14 minutes to go, Bracco tucked in the 10-1 goal with new goalie Patrick Berger completely out of the net. At this juncture, the US team simply made a line change without really the tally.

That was followed by another Matthews goal three minutes later, who simply dangled his way into the German zone and slid in the team's 11th goal past Berger. Shortly thereafter, Brendan Warren tipped in a shot to the right of Berger to make it 12-1. The 13th goal was scored by Roslovic from right in the slot after getting a nifty pass from Tkachuk, his third point of the game. That meant the hat trick for Roslovic as well.

When all was said and done, the US had outshot Germany 48 to 15 and won with the tournament’s most lopsided result.

"The USA plays with the puck and manages it as long as they need to until they can practically put it in an empty net. They pose such a goalscoring threat, and go so hard to the net, I just haven't seen that from any other team yet," explained German goalie Pantkowski.

With that, the USA will wait to see if it faces the Czech Republic or Switzerland in the first round of the playoffs. Germany will prepare for the relegation round, in which it will conduct a best-of-three series against Latvia starting Thursday this week.