COLOGNE – Team USA scored four times in the first period to match its entire goal-production to date and the Americans went on to rout Kazakhstan 10-0 in a Relegation Round game at the 2010 IIHF World Championship on Saturday.
The USA is trying to avoid an ignominious fall from the IIHF’s top pool to its second tier and the win – the first in four games for Team USA at the 2010 Worlds – will help accomplish that.
Team USA plays France on Sunday, while Kazakhstan takes on Italy the same day.
For a team that could not score in its three Preliminary Round games, the goals came quick and often for the United States in its first-ever World Championship game against Kazakhstan. Matt Gilroy led the way with a three-goal performance.
"We were embarrassed to be in this situation and it was great to get some goals and see the forwards be rewarded for their efforts," said Team USA captain Jack Johnson.
"We were anxious to get going."
"It is good to get the goals," said USA coach Scott Gordon. "For all the scoring struggles we have been having, t is quite a relief for some of the guys.'
T.J. Oshie scored on a wraparound at 0:55 of the first period on the first USA shot of the game. Oshie was in the right place at the right time when defenceman Maxim Semenov misplayed the puck behind his net. Oshie pounced on the loose puck and goaltender Alexei Kuznetsov was caught completely off guard when the American forward swept around the net and scored.
Kyle Okposo made it 2-0 just 18 seconds later, again thanks to a miscue by a Kazakh defender behind the net. This time Oshie picked up the loose puck and Okposo snapped a centering pass into the net at 1:13.
Gilroy went end-to-end to make it 3-0 at 8:53. He deked Semenov just inside the Kazakh blueline to slip past him and then whipped a wrist shot that beat Kuznetsov cleanly low on the glove hand. Gilroy then made it 4-0 at 10:20 to complete the first period goal splurge for the Americans.
Kuznetsov was on the bench at the start of the second period but his replacement, Pavel Zhitkov, fared no better.
When Nick Foligno scored at 8:03 of the second period, it was the USA’s fifth goal of the game and that’s one more goal than the Americans scored in losing three straight games earlier in the 16-team tournament.
The rout continued not long after, with Ryan Potulny scoring at 6:34 and Gilroy completing the hat trick 10 seconds later. Brandon Dubinsky made it 8-0 at 18:44 and Tim Kennedy followed with a goal at 19:29.
"It felt good to see the guys scoring," said Gilroy.
Chris Kreider scored with 1:03 left in the game for the only goal in the final period.
"The Americans are the strongest team in this group. They should not be here," said Kazakhstan coach Andrei Shayanov.
As for the Kazakhs, they had two good scoring chances in the second period denied by goaltender Scott Clemmensen.
Clemmensen did the splits to kick out a wrist shot by Roman Starchenko with his right pad at the 3:38 mark of the second period. Then two minutes later, Alexei Vorontsov’s shot was blocked by Clemmensen, who was on the bench at the start of the third period.
Ben Bishop finished the game in net for the Americans.