The United States men’s hockey team lives to fight another day at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Team USA took down Slovakia in their first do-or-die playoff game on Monday night, beating the Slovaks 5-1. It’s the second time that the Americans have topped Slovakia in South Korea after also beating them in the preliminary round.
The United States outshot Slovakia, 33-23, and got two goals from Ryan Donato, plus goals from James Wisniewski, Mark Arcobello, and Garrett Roe en route to the victory. Troy Terry also had an active night on the scoresheet, recording three assists. USA goaltender Ryan Zapolski made 22 stops in the victory.
The win sends Team USA to the Olympic quarterfinals to play the Czech Republic on Tuesday night. The game will air live at 10 p.m. ET on CNBC.
After a scoreless first period, Donato continued his fantastic tournament and opened the scoring 96 seconds into the second period. The 21-year-old Massachusetts native, who plays for Harvard University’s hockey team and is a Boston Bruins prospect, has served as an offensive catalyst for the American squad all tournament long.
Team USA got a great chance to open up the scoring later in the second period when Slovakia ran into problems with their discipline. Michal Cajkovsky received a five-minute major and match penalty when he delivered a check to the head of Donato, while Ladislav Nagy received a minor penalty for goaltender interference on the same series.
With a 5-on-3 man advantage, Wisniewski found the back of the net just 17 seconds into the power play. The 33-year-old defenseman has served as a power play specialist during the Olympics, and he showed why with his first goal on Monday. Wisniewski delivered a bomb that found twine and doubled the USA’s lead to 2-0.
That was the only strike that the United States got on the extended power play opportunity, but Mark Arcobello made it 3-0 about 11 minutes later in the period. It was Arcobello’s first goal of the tournament as well.
The Slovaks caught some life late in the second period after USA forward Jordan Greenway took an ill-advised slashing penalty. Slovakia’s Peter Ceresnak capitalized on the ensuing power play opportunity, making it 3-1 a few minutes before the second intermission.
But that would be the only goal Slovakia would get all night, and the United States added some further distance on the scoreboard thanks to this beautiful sequence that was finished off by Garrett Roe halfway through the third period.
Donato provided the first goal, and he also delivered the last. The kid locked up his second multi-goal game of the tournament and provided the final tally with just over three minutes left to play.
All in all, it was an impressive win for the United States’ squad — and especially for some of its youngest members –afterto close out the group stage. Team USA has looked pretty shaky and inconsistent at times thus far in South Korea, but the Americans have also shown an ability to bounce back when things haven’t gone their way.
However, they won’t have much room for error moving forward, as they’ll have to face a well-rested Czech Republic team, which won Group A in the prelims, in a do-or-die game on Tuesday.