Ryan Donato Scores Both American Goals in 2-1 Win Over Slovakia

Ryan Donato Scores Both American Goals in 2-1 Win Over Slovakia

Steven Ellis16 Feb 2018Steven Ellis»
 

The United States have won their first game of the 2018 Olympics, defeating Slovakia by a score of 2-1 on Friday afternoon.

 
 
 
 

The United States have won their first game of the 2018 Olympics, defeating Slovakia by a score of 2-1 on Friday afternoon.

The Americans had a strong start to the game, moving the puck very well and outskating the Slovaks. They would take the 1-0 lead at 7:10 after Troy Terry fought off a Slovak defender before dropping the puck down to Ryan Donato. Donato, a 21-year-old prospect in the Boston Bruins system, scored on the power play after his wrist shot beat Jan Laco below his left arm to open up the scoring.

But 25 seconds later, the Slovaks scored on a weak attempt. Andrei Kudrna would get the goal after his tipped chance from a tough angle off of a Tomas Surovy pass, with the puck just bouncing off of Ryan Zapolski's right leg and in to make it 1-1 early in the battle. 

Goaltending was the name of the game in the second period, with both Laco and Zapolski pulling their weight. Laco, the top goalie of the 2012 World Championship, was having a bad year in the Czech league before coming over for the Olympics but was stellar in the early going on Friday, making 24 saves in the first 40 minutes of play. At the other end, Zapolski made up for some defensive lapses in front of him, and while he only had 12 stops in that frame, the infrequent scoring chances by the Slovaks made each one a challenging one. 

Donato has yet to sign an NHL contract in his young hockey career, but the Harvard University star outperformed everyone else on the US squad. On the power play at 2:51, Donato made a slick move after spinning around in front of the net and jabbing the puck between the legs of Laco, giving the Americans their second lead of the contest. it was good enough for the Americans to hold on for the victory, grabbing their first win of the Olympics by a score of 2-1 on Friday.

The United States will take first place in Group B with four points, just one ahead of Slovakia. The Americans will finish their round-robin action with a Saturday evening contest against the Russians, a battle that saw an intense shootout victory for the United States back in 2014 in Sochi. Slovakia will play at the exact same time, taking on a Slovenian team that actually beat the Americans to open up the tournament on Wednesday evening.

Follow me on Twitter, @StevenEllisNHL. 

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