By: Dan Shulman
The United States World Junior Team improved to 2-0-0 with a victory over Slovakia, 5-2, on Wednesday night in Toronto.
Three Boston University Terriers found the scoresheet on the night, contributing to a trio of American goals.
The U.S. got the scoring started midway through the first period when Tanner Laczynski’s second effort tricked over and behind Slovakia and University of North Dakota net-minder Matej Tomek.
Team USA doubled their advantage late in the period on an odd-man rush. Terrier forward Clayton Keller calmly slid a pass to a waiting Colin White at the goal-mouth for the assistant captain’s second of the tournament.
Slovakia cut the deficit in half before the close of the period. With BU forward Jordan Greenway in the penalty box, Martin Fehervary was left all alone in front of the net for an easy tap-in past BC goaltender Joseph Woll.
The United States added three more goals in the second period, with two coming in the opening ten minutes of the middle frame. BU forward Kieffer Bellows and Jack Roslovic helped set up Tage Thompson for a nifty goal in tight quarters. The UConn forward spun in front of Tomek to shield the puck before lifting the shot into the roof of the net.
The Americans extended the lead to three when BU defenseman and Team USA assistant captain Charlie McAvoy fired a blast to beat Tomek clean. The Terriers’ sophomore one-timed a feed from Joseph Cecconi at the blue-line and found the twine through a cluster of bodies.
USA’s final goal was perhaps the prettiest as University of Denver forward Troy Terry hit both posts with a shot from the slot to beat the Slovakian goaltender. The shot came on an initial rush as Terry dragged the puck past a defender before firing opposite corner of the net, off both posts, and over the line.
The United States had opportunities to extend the lead if not for Matej Tomek’s stellar play and a couple quick whistles. Clayton Keller was on the wrong end of the quick whistles.
The first no-goal came after Keller banked a shot off Tomek and over the line before being kicked out by a Slovakian defensman, but the whistle had already blown. The second puck went into the net as Keller barreled in after it, sliding uncontrollably into Tomek causing the goal.
Slovakia got a consolation goal in the final minute of regulation. Michal Roman’s wrister from the point deflected off an American stick and over Woll to cut the lead back to three goals.
The Americans overwhelmed the Slovakians all night, outshooting their European adversaries 50-20 over the evening.
The United States is back in action tomorrow against Russia with puck drop at the Air Canada Center scheduled for 3:30 p.m.