The American win will likely see them play the early semi-final on Saturday against Switzerland or Czechia or Sweden, but that is dependent on the other two quarter-finals still to be played later today.
Knight's achievement overshadowed some other special games. Amanda Kessel tied the Women's Worlds record with five assists, while Hannah Bilka had a hat trick and two assists, and Taylor Heise had a hat trick and one assist. In all, 15 players had at least one point.
Shots favoured the U.S. by a whopping 69-10 margin.
"We focus on us," said captain Kendall Coyne Schofield. "We focus on what we did well, what we didn't do well, even if this score is what it was. Those details are going to make us successful at the end of the weekend. Little things we can do better about how we're moving the puck, some of the seams that we're seeing. Maybe it's a line change. There are a lot of little plays, which is why we love working on our craft."
"We didn't allow too much in the first, but the Americans took it up a few notches in the second period," said Hungary's Canadian coach, Pat Cortina. "I'm really happy with the way we played our third period. It takes a lot of courage to keep playing when you're down by ten, and we did. We came out well, doing what we could do. All in all, it's a pretty good learning experience for our team."
Hungary blocked shots, got sticks on others, and played superbly around their net. The only goal came off the rush, when Taylor Heise snapped a long shot between two defenders that fooled Nemeth at 1:36. But the goalie settled down and stopped 18 of 19 shots she faced while her teammates managed only one harmless shot on Nicole Hensley.
The second period started off like the first – and then changed dramatically. Heise again scored early, at 1:25 this time, but it was the frst of nine goals this period as the U.S. broke apart the Hungarian defence and Nemeth was left helpless in the blue ice. In all, they scored four times by the 5:20 mark to ease into a 5-0 lead.
Hungary got its biggest chance to score soon after when it had a five-on-three power play for 1:22. They moved the puck around nicely and got a few decent looks at Hensley, but nothing too dangerous that the goalie couldn’t handle. After the U.S. returned to full strength, they went back on the attack, and that’s when Knight stepped up.
She got her first assist on a Hannah Bilka goal at 12:39, and three minutes later she helped set up a goal from Caroline Harvey. When Knight skated to the bench, she was mobbed by her teammates and fans, many of them friends and family of the players, applauded the achievement.
In all, the U.S. scored nine times in the second, one off a record the record set by the U.S. a the first Women’s Worlds in 1990 against Switzerland.
In a twist of fate, however, Knight had that assist taken away by the official scorer, but that mattered not because she scored early in the third to make it 11-0. So it is that goal, the record 51st of her career, that represents her Hayley-passing 87th point.
Hungary got its only goal on a power play at 12:51. They got the puck to the net and Regina Metzler got one shot off that was stopped by Aerin Frankel. The rebound came to Alexandra Huszak who smacked it in. Frankel had come on to start the third and was making her Team USA debut.
In the end, it wasn't close. Hungary goes home with the experience, and the Americans have a day off tomorrow to prepare for the semi-finals.