Jack Eichel gave the US a 1-0 lead just 54 seconds into the game, and added two more assists in the first period, as the United States cruised to an easy 6-2 victory over Slovakia in the quarterfinal round of the World U18 Championships in Finland early this morning.
It had been a frustrating first four games to the tournament for Jack Eichel, who was expected to star for the US at this tournament. He had put up some points through the tournament's first three games, but did not appear to be playing at his best. The late game-winning goal against Finland on Tuesday, however, appears to have sparked him, as he was dominant in the first period, resulting in a relatively stress-free morning for the Americans.
In addition to Eichel's three points, the US got a pair of goals from defensive defenseman Jon MacLeod, and a pair of assists from forward Alex Tuch. The duo of Auston Matthews and Kyle Connor continued their stellar play in this tournament by combining for a goal as well. Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 10 of 12 shots for the victory.
The United States will now advance to the semifinals, where they will play a rematch against the Czech Republic squad they beat 3-0 in the preliminary round. The Czechs knocked off Russia 3-2 thanks to an overtime goal by Jaukb Vrana to advance.