The United States opened up the 2011 World Championships on a winning note, shutting out a spry Slovakian squad in their first tournament game to retain the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
Perhaps most shockingly was the fact that after the first period, despite a shot line of 26-4 in favour of Team USA, the game remained scoreless, all due to the brilliant performance of Slovak goalie Zuzana Tomčíková, used to the American style of play from her time at Minnesota’s Bemidji State University. However, the U.S. finally solved Tomčíková early in the second, with a Kendall Coyne tip-in, followed by a Josephine Pucci one-timer just under five minutes later, putting the U.S. ahead 2-0 after two periods, the shots 40-6 in favour of the U.S.
The Americans put the final stake through the heart of Slovakia in the third period, starting with an early one-timer from Hilary Knight just 11 seconds in, followed another eight seconds later by a Meghan Duggan tally, quickly doubling the lead to 4-0. Brianna Decker would add the final strike at 47:27, blasting a one-timer from Knight past Tomčíková for the 5-0 lead, which would end up being the final score. Tomčíková stopped 58 of 63 shots in a valiant effort, while American goaltender Brianne McLaughlin got the easy shutout, stopping a mere 10 shots in the win.
With the opening victory, Team USA makes its first successful defense of the International Hockey Lineal Championship they won from Canada nine days ago, in a 4-1 exhibition win in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This marks the first ever IHLC meeting between the U.S. and Slovakia, who is only playing in their second-ever IHLC match, the first being an 18-0 thrashing from Canada at last year’s Vancouver Olympics. The U.S. will now face Russia next in Group Round action in Zürich, with Medal Round positioning and the IHLC on the line.
05:43 – PEN – Országhová, holding
14:30 – PEN – Decker, tripping
16:01 – PEN – Matejová, hooking
16:10 – PEN – Engstrom, interference
20:56 – PEN – Pravlíková, tripping
23:50 – GOAL – Coyne (Engstrom, Knight)
28:18 – GOAL – Pucci (Lamoureux)
30:10 – PEN – Duggan, hooking
36:43 – PEN – Pucci, hooking
40:11 – GOAL – Knight (Decker, Cahow)
40:19 – GOAL – Duggan (Chu)
47:27 – GOAL – Decker (Knight, Bellamy)
52:08 – PEN – Schoullis, hooking
W: McLaughlin (10-10)
L: Tomčíková (58-63)
SHOTS ON GOAL
26+14+23 = 63
4+2+4 = 10
Goaltenders: Brianne McLaughlin, Molly Schaus. Defence: Kacey Bellamy, Caitlin Cahow, Molly Engstrom, Josephine Pucci, Angela Ruggiero (A), Anne Schleper. Forwards: Julie Chu (A), Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Gigi Marvin, Jenny Schmidgall (C), Jen Schoullis, Kelli Stack, Kelley Steadman.
Goaltenders: Jana Budajová, Zuzana Tomčíková. Defence: Barbora Brémová, Maria Gajdošová, Iveta Karafiátová (C), Barbora Kežmarská, Michaela Matejová, Petra Országhová, Romana Vargová. Forwards: Janka Čulíková, Nicol Čupková, Anna Džurňáková (A), Nikola Gápová, Maria Herichová, Petra Jurčová, Jana Kapustová (A), Alica Mihaliková, Petra Pravlíková, Lenka Sroková, Martina Veličková.