The USA played their first elimination game in the Olympics Wednesday against the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic won its first elimination game agaisnt Slovakia, who made it interesting late. USA went with LA King’s Jonathan Quick in net who has posted a 1.44 GAA in his two prelim games. The Czech relied on the Winnipeg Jet’s Ondrej Pavelec, who was in net against Slovakia.
The USA quickly jumped on top of the Czechs when James van Riemsdyk magically squeezed the puck past Pavlec from the goal line with 18:21 left to play. A very leaky goal from Pavelec who let the puck bank in off of his body at a bad angle, 1-0 USA.
The Czech then managed to grab the momentum when they scored a fluke goal by the USA. After a bad change allowed the Czechs to get an odd man rush, the Czechs forced Quick to make an athletic split save. While the puck was loose in Quick’s crease, Ryan Callahan’s attempt to clear hit Ryan Suter’s skate and fluttered in over Quicks head. The goal was credited to Ales Hemsky, 1-1 4:31 into the first period.
The States took the lead when Dustin Brown one time goal beat the wide open net with 5:22 left to play. A beautiful pass from David Backes snuck by a few Czechs, including Pavalec, and landed perfectly on Brown’s stick who could not miss. 2-1 USA
USA doubled its lead with 1.8 second left to play in the first period. David Backes recovered Ryan Suter’s shot that hit of the boards, and put it top shelf over a sprawling Pavalec. The board’s in Shayba Arena have been very active in these Games and USA took advantage of that. 3-1 USA at the end of 1.
USA padded it’s lead on their first power play of the game, effective ending Pavelec’s night. Zach Parise scored his first goal of the tournament on another leaky goal from Pavelec. It was very similar to Backes’ goal at the end of the first. Parise recovered a shot of the boards and slipped it past a sprawling Pavelec. 4-1 USA 9:31 into the second period, Salak in Pavelec out.
The Czechs almost scored an early goal on the first shift of the third period. The puck was loose in Quick’s crease and no one could put it home for the Czech’s. Then, like it always happens in sports, USA scored it’s fifth goal of the game after a prime chance by the Czechs. Phil Kessel scored his fifth of the tournament, on a redirect of a Ryan Kesler pass 2:01 into the last frame. With that goal, Kessel now leads all players in points (Erik Karlson next with 7).
Ales Hemski brought the Czechs within 3 with his “second” goal of the night. His wristshot beat Quick high blocker, but it may be just a little too late as it came with just 7 minutes left to play.
Oh and this happened