International Ice Hockey Federation

Champs on fire

Champs on fire

Czechs no match for U.S. in 6-0 loss

Published 08.01.2016 19:28 GMT-5 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Champs on fire
ST. CATHARINES, CANADA - JANUARY 08: The United States celebrate a third period goal during preliminary round action against the Czech Republic at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship. (Photo by Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Team USA began its gold-medal defence with a sound and dominating 6-0 win over the Czechs in Group A play at the Meridian Centre this afternoon.

Although the Americans dominated in all aspects, the Czechs deserve full marks for playing solid defence and keeping the score close for most of the game. Only three late goals made the score less flattering to the underdog Czechs.

"Every game we want to get better, so to come off the ice knowing every line contributed and we got a shutout from our goalie is great," American forward Rebecca Gilmore enthused. "It shows our depth, and hopefully this is our worst game of the tournament."

"The first period wasn't so good," said Czech captain Martina Maskova, "but our second was okay, and the third was our best. But we gave up three goals in the final minutes, which isn't what we want."

The Americans got goals early and late in the first period, and this was all the scoring they needed. Grace Zumwinkle merely had to shove home a rebound from the top of the crease after goaltender Katerina Zechovska failed to coral a point shot from Makayla Langei at 4:31.

Then, at 18:24, Taylor Heise snapped a great shot over the blocker of Zechovska while skating down the right wing.

The Czechs could do little in the period except clear the puck out of their end. The Americans were first to every puck and tenacious in the corners, coming away with the little black disc time and again. The Czechs repcrded but one shot in the opening period, that from long range that offered little trouble for Beth Larcom in the U.S. goal.

For all of the problems the Czechs had moving the puck, they were rock solid in their own end, keeping the faster, more skilled Americans to the outside most of the time. The U.S. had to settle for a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes, that third goal courtesy of another excellent shot, this from Emily Oden.

Oden got the puck on the left side while playing short-handed and ripped a hard shot over the right-handed glove of Zechovska at 6:49.

The Czech goalie was later involved in a collision with Heise as they chased after a loose puck. Heise was penalized on the play but Zechovska regained her bearings and stayed in the game.

The champs added two quick goals by Natalie Snodgrass late in the game. The first came at 16:24 of the final period thanks to a nice feed from behind the net by Taylor Wente. Just 23 seconds later, Snodgrass wristed a screen shot past a surprised Zechovska.

Catherine Skaja added the final tally at 17:21.

The Americans play Russia tomorrow while the Czechs take on Canada in the late game.


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