BUFFALO – The United States scored two goals in the first period and two more in the second en route to a comfortable 4-0 win over Germany at HSBC Arena. Jon Merrill and Charlie Coyle led the offence with a goal and assist each.
The win puts the Americans back on top of the Group A standings with eight points while Finland has seven. Both teams play New Year’s Eve to decide the group winner and which team gets a bye through the quarter-finals. The Americans play Switzerland at 8pm while Finland plays Slovakia at 12:30pm.
Germany is destined for the Relegation Round now, winless in four games and fighting to stay in the top pool for 2012. They will next play on January 2.
Offered Germany's Tobias Rieder: "We have to start to prepare for the Relegation Round now, and I hope we’ll win those two games to remain in the Top Division and to play in this tournament again next year."
The last time these nations played was on May 7 when the senior editions played before a then-world record crowd of 77,803 at Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The Germans pulled off a significant upset with a 2-1 overtime win that night, but there was no such result in the offing this evening.
"We’re growing as a team here, and the chemistry is good," said American forward Jerry D'Amigo. "We’re playing good defence. I think that’s the main thing here. We didn’t concede any goals; guys are backchecking. We hang in the opponent’s zone most of the game, have lots of shots. That’s what we need to do."
It’s a bad sign when the player scoring the first goal of the game doesn’t raise his arms and barely cracks a smile. Such a reaction is reserved when a superior team crushes an inferior one, and that’s what happened when Charlie Coyle opened the scoring at 12:37 on a power play.
He claimed the puck from a scrum of players just inside the German blue line, roared in on goal, and flipped the puck over the glove of Niklas Treutle. Coyle accepted reserved congrats from his mates, knowing full well this was a mismatch, a fact borne out by the 23-2 shots on goal disparity in the first period.
Just 48 seconds later, Jerry D’Amigo did pretty much the same thing, roofing a shot over the goalie’s blocker this time from the left wing. It was clear these goals were all the Americans would need to win this game.
The second period was notable for two things. First, the Americans doubled their lead to 4-0, and the Germans, after being dominated for the first 15 minutes, showed a bit of life and managed ten shots on Jack Campbell’s goal. Few were particularly dangerous, but at least they showed some skating and determination.
Jon Merrill made it 3-0 on a long wrist shot at 7:54, and then Chris Kreider’s point shot on the power play went all the way into the net for the fourth goal. Shots were 38-12 after 40 minutes.
The Americans again limited their opponents to two shots in the final 20 minutes, a period marked by countless whistles and little action, the result having been decided long ago.