In the opening minutes, the Slovaks did a great job of moving the puck out of their zone and cut down on turnovers, which was a goal for the team after their opening game against Russia. Unfortunately, they would not be able to sustain the same level of play through to the final whistle, and would fall 12-5 to the Americans.
It wasn’t until 7:42 had elapsed in the opening period that Cole Caufield would open the scoring for the USA, flipping in a rebound from a Jack Hughes shot past Slovakian goaltender Patrik Kozel.
Caufield smiled when asked about his goal scoring pace, “I’ll take whatever I can get, it’s pretty fun scoring goals and I love it.”
Turcotte added to the American total, popping in the puck at the side of the net. Maxim Cajkovic tried to get one back for Slovakia on a 2-on-1 opportunity, but it would be teammate Samuel Krajc to get the first puck past USA’s Cam Rowe. Matthew Boldy quickly regained the two-goal lead for the USA as the teams headed into the first intermission.
The second period opened with Hughes lighting the lamp for the first time this tournament, tipping a Caufield shot.
Rowe had to be sharp as his team went down two skaters for 1:49. Slovakia peppered him with shots, and he made some great saves - with the occasional help from defender Drew Helleson. With only four seconds left on the second Slovak power play, Dominik Sojka cut the American lead to 4-2.
Caufield would once again add to the American total, picking the puck up off a draw in the opening seconds of a power play in the final minute of the second period. Though they were down by three goals, Slovakia ended the frame only two shots behind, with the totals being 23-25.
“I don’t have the puck a lot, I think that’s one of my strengths. I’m just finding soft spots and getting lost,” commented Caufield. “I think we have a lot of great players that are able to find me [in those areas] and I love when the puck ends up in the net, so again, keep it going.”
The third period was a wild affair, with ten goals being scored between the two teams. Caufield and Hughes would both net their third and fourth goals, while Lindmark and York would add to the American total. Slovakia buried two shorthanded markers on the same kill from Adrian Valigura and Martin Cromiak, and would add one more off the stick of Juraj Elias before the final buzzer would sound.
“Playing with him [Hughes] makes things a lot easier. I think we read off each other pretty well, and things have been going pretty well so far in the tournament,” Caufield remarked on his hot start alongside his captain.
“It’s always nice to get off to a good start like this. We’re not done yet, we’ve got to keep going.”
And a good start it is, with Hughes and Caufield making the record books in their second game of this year's tournament.
- Hughes has broken the single-game points record with 7 points = 4 goals and 3 assists, breaking the previous record held by Finland's Toni Rajala who had 7 points = 3 goals and 4 assists.
- Hughes ties the record for most points in one period with 5. The other players holding this record are Finland's Rajala and Canada's Ben Maxell.
- Caufield and Hughes have tied the single-game goals record with 4 goals each. They hold this record with many players including Russia's Alexander Ovechkin and Slovakia's Marian Gaborik.