USA – Czech Republic 5 – 0 (1-0, 3-0, 1-0)
BRECLAV – Team USA came out and played with and edge through three periods, controlling the puck and holding the Czech Republic to zero goals in a 5-0 victory.
Both teams were coming off impressive wins in their opening games, but it was still the Czechs who held the underdog status with Team USA being the three-time U18 defending world champions.
The Americans had the lion’s share of puck possession in the opening period, outshooting the opposition 15-2. But the Czechs managed to limit the damage on the scoreboard to only one goal when Daniel O’Reagan jumped on a turnover at centre ice and dished the puck to Nicolas Kerdiles for the one-timer.
The home team could not stay out of penalty trouble in the second period, as two consecutive penalties on the Czechs led to two power play goals for the U.S.. Captain Seth Jones set up defensive partner Jacob Trouba, who blasted the first goal in from the blue line, then Jones followed it up with another score at the end of a great passing sequence from Trouba and Ryan Hartman.
Jones credited the win to strong team discipline, which kept them out of the penalty box as there was some pushing and shoving between both teams after nearly every whistle.
“That was our focus coming into the game, we knew the Czechs like get into other teams’ heads and try to get you off your game,” said Jones. “We just tried to put that stuff to the side and play hockey”
The period ended on an ugly note when Ondrej Slovacek checked forward Kyle Osterberg from behind in the corner of the Czech zone. Slovacek received a 20 minute game misconduct while Osterberg was able to skate off the ice with help from his teammates.
“He’s banged up, but we’ll get some ice one him and hopefully he’ll be back tomorrow,” said head coach Danton Cole.
U.S. forward Ryan Hartmann added a fifth goal to his team’s tally with a great play in the third period, dancing through two Czech defenders and sliding the puck past Czech goaltender Marek Langhammer’s skate.
Team USA plays Denmark on Sunday. The Czech Republic will take on Canada on Monday.
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