Jimmy Howard (Photo: Screencap/USA Hockey)
In a comment I left a couple of days ago, I mentioned that, if Team USA tightened up its defense, it could be a real contender. What happens when they don’t tighten up their defense? Well… this game.
Team USA lost to Team Slovakia 4-2 today, bringing their overall record to 2-1 at Worlds. This is the first time since 2000 that Slovakia has won over the USA, by the way.
I mean, when you get scored on less than a minute into the game, it’s not going to be easy for your team. That’s exactly what happened, when Libor Hudacek skated up on Jimmy Howard, who made the first stop. Too bad he lost sight of the puck, letting Dominik Granak poke it across the goal line 47 seconds into the game. Oh, okay.
It was almost all Slovakia in the first period. Branco Radijovicevic completed an end-to-end rush to give them a two-goal lead. 37 seconds after that, though, Justin Faulk finally got the USA on the board. However, with six seconds remaining in the first, Andrej Sekera broke through with a slap shot, regaining the two-goal lead for Slovakia.
Even with Paul Stastny bringing it to within one in the second with Max Pacioretty‘s help during a five-on-three, the USA could not dig itself out of the hole they created. They managed to kill off Cam Atkinson‘s double minor for high sticking in the third, but after pulling Howard, Miroslav Satan iced the game for Slovakia with an empty net goal.
Team USA’s next game against Belarus is now crucial to win if they want to make it to the medal rounds. It will air live on NBC Sports Network on Thursday, May 10 at 8:15am.
Here are Jimmy Howard and Jack Johnson talking about the game:
» Continue reading “Team USA Gets Slovak’d”