IIHF Men’s World Championship Tournament Game Recap: Team USA vs Team Slovakia | 05/13/2024

Photo Credit INTERNATIONAL ICE HOCKEY FEDERATION (IIHF)

Team USA secured their first tournament win with a 6-1 victory over Germany on Saturday night. In contrast, Team Slovakia began its series with a 6-4 loss to Germany but bounced back with a 6-2 win against Kazakhstan. In the initial two matches of the world championship, virtually every American skater has contributed points on the scoreboard.

Team History:

Team USA last faced Slovakia in the 2021 World Championship quarterfinals. During that match, Colin Blackwell and Conor Garland each scored two goals, leading the U.S. to a 6-1 victory. The two teams also met during the preliminary rounds of the 2019 World Championship, where Slovakia secured a 4-1 victory against the Americans.

Goalie Trey Augustine, 19 years old, currently stands as the second youngest goaltender to have ever donned the Team USA jersey in the IIHF Men’s World Championship (19 years, three months, and three days). Clem Harnedy holds the distinction of being the youngest, having competed for the U.S. in the 1934 men’s worlds at the age of 19 years, two months, and 18 days.

Goaltenders:

USA – Alex Nedeljkovic

SVK – Samuel Hlavaj

Period 1

Slovakia took an early lead 3:17 into the game as Milos Kelemen capitalized on the backhanded pass from Matus Sukel – Slovakia led the USA by a score of 1-0. Andrej Kudrna (SVK) was also on the assist for the scoring play.

Five minutes later it was Libor Hudacek who extended Slovakia’s lead to 2-0with a goal during a 2-on-1 break against Alex Nedeljkovic (USA), bringing the score to 2-0 in favor of Slovakia (11:26). Tomas Tatar was credited with the assist.

Period 2

In the second period, Matt Boldy would narrow the gap to 2-1 for the Americans after scoring off a rebound from Luke Hughes to get the Americans on the board (4:48). On the assist as well was Jonny Gaudreau.

Slovakia extended their lead by scoring two rapid goals within 1 minute and 44 seconds, bringing the score to 4-1. Simon Nemec and Patrik Koch were the goal scorers. Nemec received the assist from Martin Fehervary and Martin Pospisil at 7:03, while Pospisil and Milos Kelemen assisted in Koch’s goal at 8:47. At that point, Team USA would replace Nedeljkovic with Trey Augustine.

Team USA was unable to score in spite of having two late power play chances. The first opportunity arose when Matus Sukel was penalized for tripping (11:25), followed by another when Mario Grman was sent to the penalty box for interference (15:51)

Slovakia ended the period with a commanding lead, ahead of Team USA by 4-1.

Period 3

Undaunted, the Americans would fight on and with decisiveness. Shane Pinto (USA) narrowed the score to 4-2 early in the third period with an assist from Joel Farabee (4:32). The secondary assist was awarded to Trevor Zegras. The Americans rallied onward again as Brady Tkachuk closed the gap to 4-3 with a remarkable effort, skating from the defensive zone to make a skillful move around a defender and sending the puck home (13:56).

Luke Hughes got on the board, bringing the game to an even 4-4 with a powerful wrist shot from the high slot with 3:22 left in regulation, beating Slovakia’s goaltender Samuel Hlavaj. With that, we are sent into Overtime.

Overtime

A late goal by Kelemen in the 3-on-3 overtime period sealed the victory for Slovakia.

Alex Nedeljkovic made 12 saves in the first 28:47 of play, while Trey Augustine made eight saves in the remaining 35:09.

Notes

  • Luke Hughes was awarded the U.S. Player of the Game
  • Team USA outshot Slovakia 43-25
    • Period 1 – USA – 9; SVK – 11
    • Period 2 – USA – 21; SVK – 7
    • Period 3 – USA – 11; SVK – 4
    • OT – USA – 2; SVK – 3
  • TEAM USA secure a crucial point in the overall standings
  • Team USA and TEAM Slovakia were 0-2 on power-play opportunities
  • Alex Nedeljkovic made 12 saves
  • Trey Augustine made eight saves

Top Three Players of the Game:

  1. Kelemen (SVK) – 3 points (2g, 1a)
  2. Pospisil (SVK) – 3 points (3a)
  3. Pinto (USA) – 2 points (1g, 1a)

Up next, Team USA will compete against France on Thursday, May 16, in their fourth preliminary round game.

Highlights:

Karen Zehner

Credentialed Beat Writer covering the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. Diving into the world of slap shots, penalty kills, and the game we love. [@RunwithK] on socials

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