By Josh Ferguson
Team USA claimed Group A supremacy from the Canadians and collect a bye to the quarterfinals with a 5-3 victory at Canada Hockey Place on Sunday night.
Team USA resumed Group A round robin play with a 6-1 win over Norway at Canada Hockey Place on Thursday afternoon.
After only registering 24 shots against the Swiss in Game 1, it was clear the Americans wanted to get more pucks on net in their second game and peppered Norwegian goalie Pal Grotnes with 15 shots in the opening frame.
Madison, Wis., native Phil Kessel opened the scoring 2:39 into the first when he ripped a snap shot off the left post and passed Grotnes to record his first Olympic goal. Joe Pavelski and Ryan Malone picked up helpers on the play.
Chris Drury gave the Americans a two-goal lead at 13:04 when he slapped home a loose puck off a Ryan Callahan shot from the hash marks. Despite playing for the Americans in the previous two Olympics, the goal was Drury’s first in Olympic competition.
With the Yanks up 2-0 in the middle frame, their top line of Patrick Kane, Zach Parise and Paul Stastny finally found the back of the net when Kane buried another Grotnes rebound off of a Parise slap shot.
Norway responded with a shorthanded goal at 8:26 of the second when Marius Holtet streaked up the right wing on a 2-on-1 and fired a shot over the blocker of American goalie Ryan Miller to make it a 3-1 game.
The Holtet marker exposed a downfall of an American system that prides itself on aggressive play. The United States were caught pinching too many times in the game and gave up four 2-on-1s before Holtet finally found the back of the net on the fifth opportunity.
Despite the brief scare for the Americans in the middle stanza, Malone added his second of the tournament and Brian Rafalski scored a pair of goals in the third to solidify the 6-1 victory.
Miller was superb for the Americans in goal; although he only had to make 10 saves on 11 shots, at least seven of those shots were quality scoring chances for Norway.
At the other end, Grotnes put in a solid effort by stopping 33 of the 39 shots he faced.
The United States (2-0) take their perfect record into a Group A showdown with Canada on Sunday night. Norway (0-2) will look for their first win of the tournament when they meet the Swiss on Saturday.