Americans strike back
USA defeats Czechs 4-3 in second game
The defending champions United States came into the game having lost their opener to Russia and needing a win in what is shaping up to be a tight Group A. The Czechs, meanwhile, had a golden opportunity to put themselves in position for the playoffs if they could upset Team USA.
But down 4-3 in the third period with a two-man advantage for 37 seconds following a tripping and kneeing penalty on Hodson Fashing and Tyler Motte respectively, the Czech Republic was unable to get the key tying goal, its best chance denied with a great pad stop by U.S. goaltender Thatcher Demko on leading Czech scorer David Pastrnak.
"We're still settling in a bit," said Demko after the game. " We're doing dome things right but we still have a few details to work out. We try not to overlook teams but they did catch us off-guard a little bit in the first."
The Czechs then found themselves on 5–on-3 penalty kill, and though the States weren’t able to score they did take off some valuable time from the clock, sealing their first win of the tournament.
"We've had two tough games now, we didn't play our best (against Russia) and in the first period in this game, but we battled hard in the second and held on the rest of the way," said USA forward Mike McCarron.
The Czechs came out strong in the opening period, battling for loose pucks and using their speed to keep the United States off balance. Adam Zboril scored the first goal of the game, after flying into the U.S. zone with two of his teammates on a three-on-one and cutting into the USA net for the score. Ondrej Kase and David Kampf followed up while on the penalty kill, taking advantage of a U.S. turnover and taking off on a two-on-one, finishing the play and putting their team up 2-0.
"We played well, we made a lot of shots in the first period, but we lost concentration when we led 2-0 and lost the advantage," said Zbroril.
The second goal woke up the Americans, who began pouring in the shots on net. Their efforts came through finally near the end of the frame when JT Compher found Tyler Motte with a quick one timer in front from behind the net to cut the lead to one.
Team USA kept up the offensive pressure into the second period, tying the game 2-2 just 19 seconds in with a goal from Compher. Then, following an initial save by Czech goaltender Rene Svoboda, a fat rebound came out to USA’s Tyler Motte who slotted it home giving the Americans their first lead of the game.
Just over three minutes later, Patrick Zdrahal found Adam Zboril alone in front with a pass from behind the net to knot the score at 3-3. But Team USA went back up by a goal courtesy of a strong effort by Mike McCarron, taking the puck into the Czech zone and fighting off two defenders to make a cross ice pass to Evan Allen for the goal.
32 seconds left in the third period, the Americans looked to go up by two goals after the puck seemed to cross the line during a scramble in front of the Czech net. But the goal was waved off and the teams went to second intermission with the score 4-3 in favour of the States which also dominated the shots category 39-15 through two periods.
With the victory, the Americans move to a 1W-1L record and will face Latvia on Sunday, while the Czech Republic will play Finland on Monday.