Following Monday’s win against Team Slovakia, the United States advanced to the playoff round. The quarterfinal game matchup was determined to be against the Czech Republic.
Team USA, coming off a 9-3 win Monday, faced a Czech team with a record of 2-1-0-1 (2 wins, 1 overtime win, and 1 loss).2
The first period saw a lot of action at both ends of the rink, and of course, a lot of penalties (9 minor penalties to be exact). When the United States had a 2-man advantage halfway through the period, the lethal powerplay went to work fast. With Seth Jones and Jacob Trouba on the ice, the US took a 1-0 lead after a deflected shot from the point reaches Johnny Gaudreau, and he slapped it home from the side of the net. Gaudreau leads the team in shots on goal. John Gibson came up with some great saves to keep the Czech Republic off the board.
As the second period began, the United States had a carry-over powerplay, and Gaudreau scored an identical powerplay goal! The goal came just 28 seconds in. 40 seconds later, after some great passing, Trouba shot the puck and Ryan Hartman was there to bury the rebound. The third goal chased the Czech goaltender Patrik Bartosak. Gaudreau took a hard shoulder check that shook him up a bit from Michal Svihalek. A few minutes later, while Seth Jones was on his knees along the boards playing the puck, Lukas Sedlack delivered a crushing hit to the head to the vulnerable US defenseman. His head was noticeably hurting on the bench. On the resulting powerplay rush, Alex Galchenyuk fed Riley Barber an amazing tape-to-tape pass and Barber put it home to give the Americans a 4-0 lead.
As a Czech powerplay was ending 12 minutes into the period, Riley Barber stole the puck along the center boards, skated past a defenseman, and was in all alone with the new goalie Matej Machovsky. After a flashy deke, he scored goal number five immediately as the powerplay clock hit 0:00.
With 13 seconds left in the period, Johnny Gaudreau again scored a powerplay goal from the side of the net! Almost three identical goals, a powerplay hat trick to end the period (4 PP goals for the game).
2:30 into the third period, Team USA had a 2-man advantage for 1:53. Seth Jones executed a perfect fake one-timer between-the-legs no-look back-pass to Trouba, and Trouba one-timed the fifth powerplay goal of the game. This would be the final score of the game, 7-0. John Gibson stopped all 31 shots for the shutout.
The United States will go on to face Team Canada in the Semi-Finals tomorrow morning at 4:00 AM ET.
If Team USA can play this well and continue to make great passes, they can easily beat the Canadians. It will be a very close game, and it may come down to a goaltending duel.
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