By Josh Ferguson
Three different Americans scored in their Olympic debuts as Team USA opened up Group A action of the men’s tournament with a convincing 3-1 win over Switzerland in front of a sell out crowd at Canada Hockey Place Tuesday.
As expected, the Americans got off to a slow start in their tournament-opener as the Swiss clamped down the neutral zone and eliminated the United States’ ability to get any offense going.
Bobby Ryan eventually broke the deadlock on a quick snapshot that zipped over the glove of Anaheim Ducks teammate Jonas Hiller with a minute left in the first.
After outshooting the Swiss 8-5 in a lackluster opening frame, the Americans started to find their legs in the second and peppered their opponents with 14 shots.
St. Louis Blues right winger David Backes made a beautiful individual effort by going coast-to-coast and around Swiss defender Yannick Weber before sliding the puck past Hiller’s outstretched left leg.
Pittsburgh native Ryan Malone added some insurance on the power play at 8:25 of the second by burying a loose puck between the wickets of a helpless Hiller. Ryan Suter picked up the lone assist on the goal.
Swiss forward Roman Wick spoiled Ryan Miller’s shutout bid midway through the third on the power play, but it wouldn’t be enough against a superior American team. Despite only registering two shots in the final frame the Americans were able to hold on for the victory.
Ryan Miller stopped 14 of the 15 shots he faced and Hiller was impressive despite giving up three goals on 24 shots.
The Americans went 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Swiss went 1-for-2 with the man advantage. Despite playing a rough and rugged style, Team USA wasn’t charged with a penalty until 4:49 into the third on a Joe Pavelski hooking minor.
The youthful Yankees (1-0) will look to improve their record Thursday when they take on Norway. The Swiss (0-1) will look to rebound against the Canadians later that evening.