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Larkin, Matthews lead U.S. past Germany at WJC

by Sean Farrell

MONTREAL -- Jack Eichel and the United States served notice Sunday that they are a force to be reckoned with at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Eichel, who is a top-two prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft, scored his first goal on a wraparound in the third, and Dylan Larkin had two goals and an assist to lead the U.S. to a 6-0 win against Germany at Bell Centre on Sunday.

Auston Matthews, Hudson Fasching and Sonny Milano also scored for the U.S., which remained undefeated at 1-1-0-0. Brandon Halverson (New York Rangers) made 14 saves.

The U.S. dominated play throughout the game, outshooting Germany 53-14, including a 22-5 advantage in the first period. Ilja Sharipov made 47 saves for Germany (0-0-0-2), which lost 4-0 against Canada on Saturday, and was named Germany's player of the game.

"I think we wore them down with our size and speed, and in the third period there we had a lot of chances," Larkin said. "And give their goalie credit, he made a lot of good saves but I think we really wore them down."

The United States plays Slovakia on Monday, two days before what is shaping up to be a showdown for the Group A lead against Canada, which won its first two games by shutouts.

"We've got a team filled with captains, that's what I think," Halverson said. "With these first two games we got in, we're really dominating and moving the puck really fast, and it's worked out really good."

Matthews, a 2016 NHL Draft prospect, scored his first goal on a wraparound at 4:44 of the first after making his WJC debut Friday in the United States' 2-1 shootout win against defending champion Finland.

"You knew that's how that kid responds," U.S. coach Mark Osiecki said. "He didn't have a great first game, you'd be very honest to say that. He knew exactly how he was going to come out and play tonight, very determined. What a great kid."

Fasching (Buffalo Sabres) increased the lead to 2-0 with his first at 12:30. Larkin (Detroit Red Wings) got the assist when Fasching put a backhand of his own rebound past Sharipov two seconds after Germany forward Parker Tuomie's hooking penalty expired.

The U.S. held a 19-2 advantage in shots when Germany forward Fabio Pfohl went in on a shorthanded breakaway after stripping the puck from Eichel in the neutral zone.

Pfohl shot wide to the left, and just like that, Germany's best opportunity to get back in the game came and went.

"I just missed the net," Pfohl said. "I was very nervous before the game, and before the Canada game. It's like the biggest tournament you can play in."

Germany defenseman Janik Moser figured prominently in both U.S. goals in the second period.

Milano (Columbus Blue Jackets) made it 3-0 at 2:48 of the second. Milano's pass attempt bounced back to him off Moser, and the Plymouth Whalers forward put a shot inside the left post for his first goal of the tournament.

"I was trying to keep the pass away; it bounced off my hand and right to his stick, and he just chipped it in," Moser said.

Larkin got his second point when he was credited with his first goal at 15:04. The University of Michigan forward's pass went in off Moser's stick to make it 4-0.

"I had a teammate backdoor, and the defenseman just poked it in, so it's good to get those bounces," Larkin said.

Eichel, who had an assist Friday, increased the lead to 5-0 at 14:09 of the third.

"We obviously have to give credit to them," Moser said. "They're a fast team. They move the puck well, a quick team on the rush. It's just amazing; they fly, and we just weren't ready for that."

Larkin scored his second goal with 20 seconds remaining.

"It's good for the rest of the tournament," Larkin said. "After a tough game two days ago against Finland, where it was tight checking and their goalie made big saves, you know, it's good to score a few."

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