Switzerland showed some moxie in the third, with Roman Wick scoring as Domenichelli went to the net. They were in the same rink as the Americans, but still outmatched and outhustled.
Well that settles that. The score is three-zip but the shot clock tells the story. 22-9 U.S.
Ron Wilson teams—with the notable exception of the Toronto Maple Leafs—are known for playing a simplified, but high-paced game. That’s what the Americans did in the second period, and they’re on their way to a win over a none-to-shabby Swiss team.
That forecheck I mentioned? It paid off big time. The Swiss could keep up the pace in this period, and when they did, Ryan Miller came through for the U.S. Ivo Ruthemann had a glorious chance for the Swiss five minutes into the frame, only to get stopped and watch Backes carry the rebound rink-length for his second straight of the game.
Ryan Malone, a somewhat talented lug with Tampa Bay, stuffed in a rebound on a mid-period power play, but you can credit Joe Pavelski for parking his arse square in Jonas Hiller’s face to make the goal possible.
Interesting to note: the hot-on-paper line of Zach Parise, Paul Stastny and Patrick Kane hasn’t really caught fire, though Kane looks as nifty as ever.
If there’s anything for Canada to worry about from these Americans, it’s their pace. If Wilson could get the Leafs to play at this tempo, they’d be laughing their way to the playoffs.
Give the Swiss some credit. They gave no quarter in the first period against a U.S. team front-loaded with talent (their blue line is another matter, but more on that later). They maintained body position in their own end despite a heavy U.S. forecheck, and threw a few hits of their own.
Mark Streit and Yannick Weber got good point shots on Ryan Miller. Hnat Domenichelli, an Edmonton kid who played his junior up the road in Kamloops, B.C., had one glorious chance as the puck scooted through the U.S. crease. But no luck.
Then, with just over a minute left in the period, that forecheck came through for the Americans, as Swiss defenceman Rafael Diaz knocked a puck down with his glove right into the slot, and onto the stick of David Backes. Top shelf, blocker side. 1-0 Americans.
First goal of the 2010 Olympic tournament.
But man, don’t count those Swiss out yet. They’ve got good support in the arena here, and a bit of sandpaper in the lineup. Stay tuned