The result of this game was never in question, as you might expect, but what was surprising is that the good ol’ US of A had this one wrapped up just 31 seconds into the game.
It was at that time the Czechs took their first penalty, ceding the one of three Superpower Plays, and 50 seconds later, there was a puck in the back of the net courtesy of captain Riley Barber. The rest of the game was academic, and served only as a curiosity; a simultaneous display of American muscle-flexing and largesse. It’s almost too bad Daniel Dolejs, who was actually pretty good in the Czech goal, had to be on the receiving end of this, but then Bikini Atoll had to be on the receiving end of some nuclear tests as well. All for the greater good.
The fact that the game ended only 5-1 has to be seen as a little disappointing, but then one has to keep in mind that this was asking a herd of elephants to do battle with an ant colony. For all intents and purposes, it was over quick — before it even started, if we’re being honest — but it still took time to mop everything up.
Two goals in the first, and again in the second, but the Czechs were either tied or within a single goal for a mere 122 seconds, which you’ll note is not very long at all. The second goal, also on the power play, was Will Butcher’s. Interestingly, no one on the US had more than one point in the game, because nothing says “equality” like spreading the scoring throughout the lineup. In all, 13 different guys had points for the Red, White, and Blue. Probably should have been more, but what’s the point?
The lone goal American Hero and Reigning Gold Medalist Jon Gillies allowed was on a soft power play called late in the game when it didn’t matter even a little, and only came because he really couldn’t be bothered to put down his book. He still finished the game with a .958 save percentage.
Again, it’s hard to get up for a game like this, or care about the result. Yup, it was a win. It never wasn’t one. You could write the postgame quotes yourself, the second the schedule was announced. “It was nice to get our feet under us. In a tournament like this you want to take every opponent seriously and zzzzzzzzzz,” wunderkind Jack Eichel probably said before falling asleep thinking about this pointless and vulgar exercise in power demonstration.
At least things will be a little more entertaining on Saturday when the US plays… Slovakia? Oh for f…