The US clinched first place in the Five Nations tournament on Friday night with a 6-4 win over Slovakia(and subsequently beat Switzerland the next night in round robin to finish a perfect 4-0 in the tournament). Once the again, the final score was maybe a bit closer than it should have been, considering the US held a 55-28 shot advantage, but this was a pretty exciting, intense game.
The key moment in the game came three and a half minutes into the second period. Slovakia had just taken a 2-1 lead moments earlier when a Slovakian player dropped US captain Michael Downing with a hit from behind. It was a pretty dirty hit, but for some reason the Slovakian bench decided to celebrate it quite loudly, while Downing was still laying on the ice with the trainer. Not only did the US get a 5-minute penalty out of the play, but also lit a fire under the Americans. The US put up three goals in six minutes after that play to take a 4-2 lead. Slovakia answered back with two goals to tie the game heading into the third period. In the third period, the US scored two early goals, and then desperately held onto their lead, killing off four penalties in the process to seal the win.
If the Germany game showcased the US team's top talent, this game showcased the depth of the American team. Top line forward Dan Labosky spent the better part of the second period on the bench after a couple of bad penalties, and top defenseman Anthony DeAngelo was benched for the second half of the game(DeAngelo wouldn't even dress for the final game). Meanwhile, Daniel Vanderwiel contributed three goals. Devin Williams relieved Thatcher Demko after the second period, and stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third period to earn the win. A lot of players started to look a little more comfortable and were able to show their talent a little more.