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Team USA finds it’s stride in victory over Switzerland…
- Updated: February 16, 2010
It wasn’t exactly Canada’s women’s team against the poor Slovakians the other night, but it was a convincing win for Team USA nevertheless, taking care of Switzerland, 3-1. Buffalo Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller was stellar when he needed to be and the Americans rolled.
Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter contributed to the win with an assist on the third American goal, two penalty minutes and a plus-1 rating in 19:03 of ice time.
Despite Anaheim Ducks starting goaltender Jonas Hiller being in net for the Swiss, they were dominated from the outset. Islanders defenseman Mark Streit is the only other NHLer on Switzerland’s Olympic roster and it showed. The Anaheim Ducks’ Bobby Ryan, the St. Louis Blues’ David Backes and the Lightning’s Ryan Malone scored goals for Team USA as the Americans showed no mercy in the victory.
It took about 19 minutes to get going but once Ryan bagged the first one, the Swiss couldn’t catch up.
Switzerland brought the physical play early on, almost in an attempt to wear down the tired NHLers who just flew into town less than 48 hours earlier. Eventually the Americans picked up their physical play as well and that’s exactly how the first goal was scored. Backes made a hit behind the Swiss net and, as a result, the puck was forced to the point, where Ryan corralled it. After his first shot went off a defenseman, Ryan found the puck again and snapped one through traffic and into the net.
Once the second period started, it was all USA. Backes got a goal and Malone tallied on the power play to round out the scoring. Even when the Americans gave the Swiss power plays, penalty killers blocked shots and Miller stood tall.
Preds defensive prospect Roman Josi was originally named to the Swiss team but, when the final rosters were submitted this week, his name was absent.
It might seem that the Americans should’ve had a more decisive win on the scoreboard but, let’s be honest, most of these players do not play together regularly and to have a “warm-up” game of sorts against an underdog like Switzerland is probably the best case scenario to allow chemistry to form.
On paper, Team USA has some weapons, sure, but isn’t in the same class as Russia or Canada. Heck, they might not even be on par with Finland or Sweden. But they are considered one of the top five Olympic teams and, come the single elimination round, anything’s possible.
Each team will play the other teams in their group once during the preliminary round. In Team USA’s case, that means, after today’s win over the Swiss, they’ll be skating against Norway on Thursday and then powerhouse Canada on Sunday night. Upon completion of the preliminary round, teams in all three groups will then be ranked 1-12. The top four teams will receive byes to the quarter-finals and the bottom eight teams will compete for the remaining four quarter-final positions.
Shea Weber and Canada is set to play Norway tonight at 6:00pm Central. The game will be available live on CNBC.