The United States rebounded from an opening night loss to Russia with a complete effort against Austria. This was Austria’s first game of the preliminary round, but it was the American squad that looked fresh despite having played 24 hours prior. The United States had the majority of chances from the start, but the game remained close after one period.
Like the Russians did to them in their matchup, the United States kept pushing and eventually broke through in a big way in the second period. What was a one-goal game after 20 minutes quickly turned into a 7-0 rout with a 52-5 shot advantage.
The Austrians attempted to push back late in the game, matching their shot total from the first two periods combined in the final frame, but ultimately were unable to get anything going. The United States outshot Austria 73-10, and somehow the game felt more lopsided than the 11-0 final score. Following a very one-sided affair, both teams should have some notes to take away from this matchup.
United States Shot Volume
When puck luck wasn’t going their way, the United States went back to the basics to keep momentum. By continuing to throw shots on goal, the Americans were able to make up for the few times they missed the net and hit the post. They had more shots in the second period of this game than they did in the entire game against Russia, and found the back of the net much more often.
The opening goal of the contest was a direct result of the willingness of the Americans to throw anything on net. Defenseman Drew Helleson had a centering pass bounce off his skate and into the net. The Colorado Avalanche prospect showed a willingness to join the rush, and the result helped the United States gain momentum heading into a very eventful second period.
Marco Rossi Held in Check
The focus of the United States in the defensive zone had to revolve around controlling Rossi. The ninth overall pick in this year’s entry draft is a standout on an otherwise unassuming Austrian roster that had not competed in the World Juniors since 2010. After leading the Ontario Hockey League in points with 120 in just 56 games for the Ottawa 67’s, Rossi was a player to watch on almost everyone’s list. Like the rest of his team, the center was held in check for almost the entire game and finished the contest with a minus-4 rating.
Still one of the most highly skilled young players in this tournament, Rossi has the potential to keep his team in games but was unable to do so against a physical and smothering American defense. The Minnesota Wild prospect will be looking to generate more opportunities when Austria takes on another highly skilled opponent in Sweden on Monday.
USA Full Lineup Involved
The United States saw production from its entire lineup, with all but four skaters recording a point. Contributions from depth players were a key to this game, as top forwards Cole Caufield and Bobby Brink held off the scoresheet. Things are definitely going well when Caufield doesn’t score but the team still manages to put up 11 goals.
Despite no points for Caufield, both of the top two lines for the Americans were rolling. The top line got back on track after a slow game against Russia, with Trevor Zegras leading the way. The Anaheim Ducks prospect scored twice and added two helpers, while Alex Turcotte had three assists and Arthur Kaliyev had two. Matthew Boldy generated most of the second line’s production with his hat-trick, while Matthew Beniers was able to record an assist on one of his three goals.
Elsewhere in the lineup, new faces stepped up in a big way in a full team effort. Brett Berard scored and added two assists, while Brendan Brisson scored twice. Newcomers Brock Faber and Patrick Moynihan also added two helpers each, with the latter making headlines after being on the receiving end of a huge hit late in the game. Moynihan looked to be okay afterward, but his status will be one to monitor as Tuesday’s matchup with the Czech Republic approaches.
What’s to Come
With a redemption game under their belt, the United States will look to keep pace with the rest of Group B as the tournament progresses. They are the only team in Group B that has played multiple games, so it will become more clear how they rank as more games are played. The strong performance of Dustin Wolf, although not tested often, gives this group confidence in both of their goaltenders going forward.
This performance doesn’t bode particularly well for Austria in a very competitive Group B. Their next matchup is against Sweden, a similar team to the United States with a strong top-six forward group. Team Russia and the Czech Republic round out the group, and all of these nations pose serious threats to a very young and inexperienced Austrian roster.
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Covering the New York Islanders and Seattle Kraken for The Hockey Writers. MBA Sports & Entertainment Management Candidate at Hofstra University. Formerly Marketing Intern with the American Flag Football League & Operations Intern for the Long Island Nets, G-League Affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets.