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Trouba Scores Twice In USA's 6-1 Win Over Belarus

Friday, 09.05.2014 / 4:11 PM / News Articles
By Andy Potts
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Trouba Scores Twice In USA\'s 6-1 Win Over Belarus
A three-goal salvo deep in the second period poured torrential rain on Belarus\' Victory Day parade as a youthful U.S.A. team handed the host nation a comprehensive 6-1 defeat on day one of the World Championship.

A three-goal salvo deep in the second period poured torrential rain on Belarus' Victory Day parade as a youthful U.S.A. team handed the host nation a comprehensive 6-1 defeat on day one of the World Championship.

It was a one-goal game up to the 35th minute when the Americans decisively stretched that advantage. Jacob Trouba's one-timer made it 2-0 after Dan Dekeyser's surge behind the net and within a minute the highly-rated NCAA star Johnny Gaudreau notched his first senior international goal.

Gaudreau, who also scored on his NHL debut earlier this season, produced a fine effort to open his account as well; a precise wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle that ripped over Andrei Mezin's glove on its way to the top corner.

Team U.S.A. continue to press and it was soon four as Colin McDonald arrived on the slot to convert Jimmy Hayes' tempting backhander across the face of Mezin's net and reduce Belarusian dreams to dust.

The speed and scale of the collapse - the three goals came in the space of less than three minutes - was a bitter blow for a home crowd that came full of hope and eager to celebrate the arrival of a top-level sports tournament event on Belarusian soil.

Belarus has waited a long time to welcome the world to an event of this scale and the home team was determined to ensure its efforts did not go unnoticed on or off the ice.

A day of patriotic song and dance outside the Minsk Arena, combining the annual Victory Day celebrations with opening night excitement, helped to whip a big home crowd into a fervour before the puck was dropped.

And that energy from the stands inspired team Belarus to a lively start against a youthful and inexperienced American roster that found itself facing a storm of passion.

The hosts' first line of Alexei Kalyuzhny, Mikhail Grabovski and Andrei Stepanov combined effectively and several occasions early on but could not convert its chances; Stepanov in particular was culpable of a glaring miss on the first power play of the evening, firing agonisingly wide after exploiting a huge gap in the U.S. defence and deking goalie Tim Thomas.

That reprieve invigorated the visitors, and the game became an absorbing end-to-end spectacle, with every American advance greeted by anxious whistles and each Belarusian block or hit cheered to the rafters. But one of the slickest moves of the game saw Team U.S.A. convert its first power play and grab the lead.

Tyler Johnson fed Craig Smith, whose instinctive flick pass found Brook Nelson on the post for a simple finish. It was a goal that typified the difference between the teams: Belarus, for all its desire, rarely produced this kind of incisive passing around Thomas's net; Andrei Mezin at the other end frequently found himself stretched as the Americans carved out sharp-edged opportunities.

However, Belarus shaded the early exchanges in the second stanza only to lose its momentum after being penalized for having too many men on the ice. Despite killing that minor, there was no way to recover the initiative and the wiles of the American offence ultimately took their toll.

At least there was a champagne moment for the home support to savour on the final play of the second session when Stepanov finally got the goal his efforts deserved. A lovely bit of tic-tac-toe from his linemates saw Grabovski deliver a perfectly-weighted pass out in front of the net and the Amur Khabarovsk forward drilled home the hosts' first marker of the competition.

But it never looked likely to inspire a fightback in a final stanza which lacked the intensity of the earlier exchanges, and it was the Americans who added to the scoring with two more power play goals. Trouba produced another long-range effort with just over five minutes to play before Jake Gardiner claimed the sixth after his shot pinballed over the line on a deflection from the luckless Roman Graborenko.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 63 41 15 7 191 151 89
2 ANA 63 39 17 7 186 176 85
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 61 29 20 12 164 157 70
9 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 COL 62 27 24 11 166 179 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Little 63 24 26 9 50
A. Ladd 63 20 30 12 50
B. Wheeler 61 16 28 12 44
D. Byfuglien 63 15 26 6 41
M. Perreault 56 18 18 3 36
M. Scheifele 63 10 25 4 35
M. Frolik 63 13 19 3 32
D. Stafford 57 10 17 -18 27
J. Tlusty 53 13 10 -17 23
E. Kane 37 10 12 -1 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Hutchinson 18 7 5 .920 2.29
O. Pavelec 13 13 7 .909 2.60
 
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