The American offense exploded for the first real time this World Championship tournament as they knocked off South Korea 13-1 to increase their goal differential to 28-7 and remain in first place in Group B.
Korea, as hard as it is to believe, actually took the early lead in this game. Johnny Gaudreau took a goalie interference penalty just 3:54 into the game and Jin Hui Ahn notched the first goal of the game from Sangwook Kim and Wonjun Kim. Korea had the early 1-0 lead, but that would be it for them on the day.
The US would tie things at 8:35 of the first when Anders Lee scored from Dylan Larkin and Gaudreau. And with that, the US blow out was on.
The Koreans took a bench minor for too many men on the ice at 12:36 to go with a high sticking penalty assessed at the same time for Hyonho Oh. That gave the US a 5-on-3 advantage and it only took Patrick Kane 20 seconds in to give the Americans the 2-1 lead. Gaudreau had the lone assist.
With the penalty now whittled down to a 5-on-4, Charlie McAvoy (a reinforcement from the recently-eliminated-from-the-playoffs Bruins) scored from Kane and Gaudreau. That one came at 13:29 of the first.
The Americans would make it 3-1 before the end of the first when McAvoy scored again this time from Chris Kreider and Larkin with less than a minute to go in the period.
A rare shorthanded goal scored on a four minute penalty made it 4-1 USA early in the second. At 2:54, Sonny Milano was given a double minor for high sticking and Derek Ryan actually scored for the US on it. Alec Martinez had the lone assist on the goal scored at 3:42.
The Devils’ Blake Coleman got in on the action at the 7:06 mark when he scored from Martinez and Colin White. It was now, at 6-1, that Korea made the choice to pull goaltender Matt Dalton in favor of Sungje Park.
But with Korea getting in so much penalty trouble, it would not be much help. At 8:32, Sanghoon Shin took a hooking call and it only took Patrick Kane nine seconds on the ensuing power play to connect. McAvoy had the lone assist. That made it 7-1.
The US went on another 5-on-3 when, at 11:45, Korea’s Alex Plante was called for hooking. Twenty-two seconds later, Jin Kyu Park was called for goalie interference and the US power play was up two men. Eleven seconds into the 5-on-3, Cam Atkinson scored to make it 8-1. Kane and McAvoy had the assists at 12:18 of the second.
The US onslaught continued in the third period. Tage Thompson scored at the 5:06 mark from Milano and Nick Jensen to make it 9-1.
Atkinson would strike again at 6:11 to make it 10-1 with assists to Kane and McAvoy, who was extremely effective coming into the tournament late as he did.
The eleventh goal came just as a power play was expiring. Woosang Park was called for tripping at 7:07 and at 9:09, just two seconds after the end of the power play, Neal Pionk scored for the Americans from Will Butcher. That gave another Devil a point and made it 11-1 USA.
At the 9:54 mark, Ahn was called for high sticking and the Americans were given another power play opportunity. Ryan scored on that one at the 11:40 mark from Alex Debrincat and Pionk. It was now 12-1 US.
Sonny Milano wrapped things up for the US with a goal with 1:10 remaining in the game. Debrincat and Thompson had the assists and that gave us our final of 13-1. All told, the US had scored a total of 12 unanswered goals.
Overall, it was a good night for the US. Scott Darling got the start over Keith KInkaid and made 12 saves on just 13 Korean shots. The Korean goaltenders combined for 44 saves on 57 American shots on goal. Korea ended the game with 22 penalty minutes to the Americans’ ten.
Individually, the Devils in the game played well. Will Butcher had the assist for a point, a shot on goal and was a plus-2 in 19:13 of ice time over 24 shifts. Blake Coleman had the goal for a point, five shots on goal, was a plus-1 in 10:01 of ice time over 14 shifts. Brian Gibbons had three shots on goal and was a plus-1 in 8:46 of ice time over 12 shifts.
With that pasting of Korea, the US now stands in first place over Canada in Group B. Canada does have a game in hand, as they will be taking on Finland tomorrow. The US has 13 points over five games with three wins and two overtime wins. The Americans next take on Norway on Sunday.
In the meantime, we will have the Swiss game against the Russians tomorrow right here. The Russians finally let in some goals, four in a 4-3 loss to the Czechs in overtime yesterday. We will see how the Swiss can do against the mighty Russians tomorrow.