SOCHI, Russia -- The. U.S. Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team scored six straight second-period goals to surge past Slovakia, 7-1, in its opening game of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Shayba Arena. Eleven players had at least a point, including Paul Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./Colorado Avalanche), who scored twice, and Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis./Toronto Maple Leafs), who had a goal and two assists.
At 14:27 of the first period, John Carlson (Colonia, N.J./Washington Capitals) staked Team USA to a 1-0 lead on a pinpoint slap shot from the right circle. Kessel led a three-on-two break down the right side before leaving a drop pass for Carlson to blast over goalie Jaroslav Halak’s blocker.
Slovakia’s Tomas Tatar tied the game, 1-1, on a wrister just 24 ticks into the second period.
Team USA responded quickly with goals at 1:26 and 2:32. First, Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y./Chicago Blackhawks) fed Ryan Kesler (Livonia, Mich./Vancouver Canucks) for a one-timer from the right circle. Then, Stastny buried a rebound after Max Pacioretty (New Canaan, Conn./Montreal Canadiens) nearly scored a moment earlier.
David Backes (Minneapolis, Minn./St. Louis Blues) swatted a bouncing puck through Halak at 8:16, stretching the lead to three goals.
The U.S. advantage ballooned to 7-1 with a three-goal spree in a 2:47 span. Stastny tallied his second of the game by tipping a cross-ice pass from Kevin Shattenkirk (New Rochelle, N.Y./St. Louis Blues) past Halak at 13:30. Kessel redirected a James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J./Toronto Maple Leafs) pass into the net at 14:20 and Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y./Los Angeles Kings) converted a Carlson feed at 15:17.
There was no scoring in the third period.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick (Milford, Conn./Los Angeles Kings) stopped 22-of-23 shots for the win.
After a day off tomorrow, Team USA faces home-standing Russia on Saturday (Feb. 15) at Bolshoy Ice Dome. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. ET and can be viewed live on NBC Sports Network.
March 27, 2017 | When USA Hockey implemented its American Development Model in 2009, one element of the nationwide age-appropriate training blueprint sparked more debate than any other: cross-ice hockey for 8U players. In the years since, an abundance of evidence, both data-driven and anecdotal, has proven the developmental advantages of cross-ice hockey.
This week, Hockey Canada announced that it too will introduce its players to the game through cross-ice play beginning in 2017-18.
“Re-sizing the playing surface to cross-ice or half-ice means more puck touches, which result in more chances to practice puck control and shooting, as well as overall more movement and motor skill-development – twisting, turning, balance, coordination, agility,” said Paul Carson, vice-president of membership development for Hockey Canada, in a release today. “Their field-of-play matches their size, and these players hone in on their skill-development in a way that larger ice surfaces just aren’t conducive to.”
The Grassroots Show on Ottawa’s TSN 1200 weighed in on the decision. Click the audio link below to hear how Canada is embracing cross-ice hockey for the coming season and beyond.
Tom Renney, president and CEO of Hockey Canada, appeared on the Grassroots Show to discuss the nationwide shift to cross-ice hockey, beginning this fall for 5- and 6-year-olds and expanding to all of Canada's Novice (8U) level in 2018-19.
“When you see 10 or 12 or 14 or 16 kids out on the ice in between periods and they’re playing 200-by-85 and 3 or 4 kids touch the puck in that whole six minutes, yet there’s people in the stands clapping and thinking it’s wonderful, I just can’t help but think about the 95 percent of the children that didn’t even touch the puck or get from one end of the rink to the other and I ask myself what are we doing when the opportunity is certainly there to have 30 kids on the ice playing cross-ice and everyone is having a much better opportunity to touch the puck, skate a shorter distance and really play. It just boggles my mind,” said Renney.
“We completely embrace, at the Initiation level and the Novice level, cross-ice hockey and we have mandated that in the Initiation program and we will mandate it across the country in Novice hockey.
“This is about the pure enjoyment of the game, and your first connection with it has to be something that’s pure fun, on a surface of play that is conducive to much more participation and joy.”