Wednesday, December 31, 2008

US with the Shutout

Kazakhstan has one last hope to avoid the relegation round with a substantial margin of victory tomorrow against the Czech Republic. But all eyes are sure to be on the late game when rivals Canada and USA face off for first place in Group A. The winner will get an automatic berth in the semi-finals.

The Americans didn’t look like a bona fide contender in the first period, as they clearly took the Kazakhs a little too lightly in the opening stanza. It wasn’t until their fourth power-play opportunity that the Americans managed to score the 1-0 goal, as Ian Cole broke the ice 16:26 into the game.

Once the first goal got past Kazakh goaltender Andrei Yankov, the U.S. had an easier time with its offense. Aaron Palushaj doubled the lead 31 seconds later, and Drayson Bowman made it 3-0 a minute before the end of the period.

U.S. head coach Ron Rolston clearly gave his team an earful during the intermission, as they came out looking rejuvenated in the second period. It took just 52 seconds for the Americans to score as Colin Wilson put in a rebound from a shot off the face-off.

The U.S. piled in another four goals in the period, including two on the power play, to climb out to a commanding 8-0 lead. The U.S. out-shot Kazakhstan 39-3 in the first two periods.

Palushaj led the way with two goals and two assists and Wilson had two goals, while Ian Cole and James vanRiemsdyk both added a goal and two assists. In total, ten different Americans scored in the effort.

Mike Hoeffel added a two-man advantage goal in the third period, and singles by Jimmy Hayes, Mitch Wahl and Matt Rust brought the score to 12-0.

Jordan Schroeder’s two assists were enough to tie him for the lead in tournament scoring with Canada’s John Tavares and Cody Hodgson with nine points.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

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