After a decisive victory over Germany in their opening game of the 2022 World Junior Championship (WJC), the defending gold medalists continued their winning ways with a resounding win over Team Switzerland to improve their record to 2-0. Carter Mazur, who was named the American Player of the Game, led Team USA with pair of goals and an assist en route to a convincing 7-1 victory.
After a slow start and a scoreless first period, Team USA scored five goals in the second period to take control of the game and cruise to victory. Here are three takeaways from their win.
Americans Were Too Fast for the Swiss
Team USA has two major components to its game, speed and skill, and both were on clear display Thursday night. The line of Logan Cooley, Matthew Knies and Matt Coronato were all over their Swiss opponents and, although they got little for their efforts in terms of points, they simply were too much for their opponents to handle.
The forward line of Mazur along with Thomas Bordeleau and Landon Slaggert were also too fast for the Swiss, as they controlled the ice on nearly every shift. They found the scoresheet multiple times in this game, recording nine points between them. Mazur scored two goals and an assist, while Bordeleau and Slaggert added a goal and two assists each.
Team Switzerland is known for its ability to play tight, defensively sound and responsible hockey. That was the case for 30 minutes up until the time they tied the game 1-1 with 11:35 left in the second period. It was at that point that the Americans took over the game.
The combination of speed and the ability to move and create in the offensive zone simply had the Swiss on their heels. At one point in the first period, shots on goal were 7-4 in favour of the Swiss and by the time they had tied the game, they were trailing the Americans in that stat by a 20-11 margin.
Team USA Exploded in the Second Period
It took a while for the Americans to take control of the game, but when they did, the Swiss were completely overmatched. The speed and skill of Team USA took over and in the second period, they burst the proverbial bubble with four goals in an eight-minute span.
Outshooting the Swiss 10-3 in the final 10 minutes of the second period, Team USA went from a 1-1 tie to an insurmountable 5-1 lead. It was a case of too much speed, too much puck control and the quickness with which the Americans were able to transition from defense to offense and hem the Swiss in their own end that was incredible to watch. The game was basically won in that eight-minute onslaught.
It’s an important fact to note that the American assault was a full team effort, as the four goals were scored by four different players. Brock Faber scored his first of the tournament, followed by Mazur’s second of the game two minutes later. Slaggert and Coronato then scored two minutes apart late in the frame to seal the victory, leaving the Swiss heading into the second intermission completely stunned.
If the Americans are to capture back-to-back gold medals at the WJC for the first time in the country’s history, they are going to have to maintain this level of intensity and dominance over their opponents. If they can, they are going to be very difficult to beat.
Sharks Fans Should Be Excited About Thomas Bordeleau
The second-round pick, 38th overall, by the San Jose Sharks is a 5-foot-10 centre that possesses excellent speed, protects the puck and sees the ice extremely well. He has the ability to scan the defense, find the open man and create a ton of scoring chances for his teammates.
Bordeleau is the oldest player on Team USA and his line was a juggernaut in this contest, as his ability to get to the puck, control it and find his teammates was on full display. Playing with the likes of Mazur and Slaggert seems a perfect fit as they are more than capable of burying the puck in the net when given the opportunity.
In April, Bordeleau signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Sharks and had five assists in an eight-game stint. He is NHL-ready and should be in a Sharks uniform this season with this tournament being a springboard for that. With his speed, the 20-year-old centre should have an immediate impact on his NHL club in their attempt to get back into the playoff race. The past two seasons in the NCAA saw him score 67 points in 61 games at the University of Michigan, last season leading his team to the Frozen Four. He is a consistent player who never seems to take a night off and is exactly what the Sharks are looking for long-term.
Next Up for Team USA
The Americans have had a great start to the tournament with two wins and outscoring their opponents 12-2. They are playing with a high level of confidence and look to take that with them into their final two round-robin matches on the weekend. They play Austria at 2:00 PM EST on Saturday before facing their toughest opponent in Team Sweden on Sunday, Aug. 14. Game time for that important match is 10:00 PM EST.
|Team Canada||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team USA||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Austria||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Czechia||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Finland||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Germany||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Sweden||Players to Watch||Roster|
|Team Switzerland||Players to Watch||Roster|
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Keith Forsyth is a freelance writer and sports junkie from rural Manitoba who is covering the Winnipeg Jets for The Hockey Writers. Keith loves all sports and is a huge fan of the NFL (Skol Vikings… if you know, you know) and the Montreal Expos (they’re coming back… you watch!). He recently retired from the education world teaching high school, where his greatest passion was coaching young athletes. He brings that same logical, behind the bench type of approach to you as he delivers an insightful look into the NHL and specifically the Jets. For interview requests or content info, follow Keith on Twitter or his social media accounts. They appear under his photo on articles like this one.