|Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky celebrates at the Team USA bench after one of the Americans' many goals against Kazakhstan on Saturday. Dubinsky led the U.S. with five points in the 10-0 runaway victory.
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Rangers defenseman Matt Gilroy, forward Brandon Dubinsky
, and prospect Chris Kreider
all had a hand in Team USA's 10-0 trouncing of Kazakhstan on Saturday, as the Americans opened relegation-round play with an impressive -- and much-needed -- victory at Cologne, Germany.
Gilroy scored his first hat trick of his international hockey career, Dubinsky had a remarkable five-point game with a goal and four assists, and Kreider notched the game's final goal, as the previously dormant U.S. offense came alive in style.
Team USA dominated the undermatched Kazakhstan squad, scoring four goals in the opening period, five in the second, and the late one by Kreider in the third.
The Americans outshot Kazakhstan 45-28. Scott Clemmensen of the Florida Panthers made 23 saves over two periods of action for Team USA. He left the game after 40 minutes and was replaced by Ben Bishop, who finished up with five saves to nail down the shutout
After losing its three preliminary-round games by one-goal margins, Team USA must finish in the top two of the four-team relegation round group to avoid being knocked out of the IIHF World Championships' elite round for next year. The rout of Kazakhstan was a strong start, and the Americans will likely need just one more win in the remaining games against Italy and France to ensure a spot in the 2011 tournament.
Dubinsky, playing on a line with David Moss and Nick Foligno, saw 16:54 of ice time to rank third among U.S. forwards. In addition to his team-leading five points, including three second period assists, he also had two shots on goal and was plus-2 for the game.
Gilroy, paired on defense with Taylor Chorney, scored his three goals in only 13:52 of ice time, was a plus-3 for the game, and tied for the Team USA lead with five shots on goal.
Kreider, the Rangers' 2009 first-round draft pick, made the most of his 13:31 of ice time, scoring on one of his five shots, which also tied him for the team lead in that category. The only college player on Team USA, Kreier played most of the game on a line with Ryan Potulny of the Edmonton Oilers and Eric Nystrom of the Calgary Flames.
Team USA needed just 55 seconds to take control of the game, as T.J. Oshie scored a wraparound goal on Kazakhstan goalie Alexei Kuznetsov for an early 1-0 lead. Kyle Okposo of the Islanders and defenseman Matt Greene of the Los Angeles Kings picked up assists.
Only 18 seconds after the Oshie goal, Okposo made it 2-0, matching the highest USA goals output of any previous game within the relegation round's first 1:13. Stationed in the slot, Okposo slammed home Oshie's centering pass. T.J. Galiardi also assisted on the Okposo goal.
|Rangers prospect Chris Kreider, the lone college player on Team USA, engages in some physical play along the boards during Saturday's rout of Kazakhstan in Cologne, Germany. Kreider scored the Americans' final goal late in the third period. |
With Alexei Vassilchenko off for roughing at 5:26 of the first, Gilroy took advantage of the first USA power play to score his first World Championship goal -- and set his hat trick in motion -- at 6:53 of the first off an assist from Dubinsky.
Dubinsky had taken a shot that Kuznetsov managed to stop, but Gilroy, pinching in from the right point, was in perfect position to fire in the long rebound from the right faceoff circle for a 3-0 lead.
Gilroy scored again at even strength off assists from Oshie and Galiardi at 10:20 of the first for a 4-0 lead. The highlight-reel goal came on a rush through the neutral zone. Gilroy crossed the blueline, made a slick move to turn the defenseman inside-out, and then deked Kuznetsov for his second goal in just over three minutes.
Looking to change its fortunes, Kazakhstan removed Kuznetsov in favor of backup Pavel Zhitkov to open the second period, but Zhitkov fared no better, giving up even more goals than Kuznetsov.
The Americans stretched the lead to 5-0 at 8:03 of the second period, when Foligno took a Dubinsky pass in the neutral zone, swooped in over the blue line, and lifted in a backhand from just inside the right faceoff circle.
The lead ballooned to 6-0 on a power play at 16:34 of the second period. With Alexei Vorontsov off for interference, Potulny deflected in a shot off his leg. The goal was reviewed to determine if Potulny kicked the puck in, but the tally stood, and Dubinsky picked up his third assist of the afternoon on the play.
Only 12 seconds later, Gilroy completed the hat trick for a 7-0 lead when he collected a loose puck at the top of the right circle and blasted home a shot at the 16:46 mark. Potulny and Dubinsky, who had both remained on the ice, picked up the assists.
Undisciplined play from the frustrated Kazak team led to a 5-on-3 for the U.S. in the final minutes of the middle period, and with both Gilroy and Dubinsky on the ice, Dubinsky cashed in with a goal from just outside the crease.
Taking a pass from New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene down low to Zhitkov's left, Dubinsky made a slick move toward the net and fired a quick wrister into the far corner for the 8-0 advantage and his third point of the period.
Team USA made it 9-0 as the power play continued with 31 seconds left in the second period. This time it was Tim Kennedy of the Buffalo Sabres shoveling in the rebound of a shot by Toronto's Christian Hanson.
Kreider closed out the scoring with his first goal of the tournament at 18:57 of the third period. Ryan Carter of the Anaheim Ducks assisted on the goal.
In Saturday's other relegation-round game, France defeated Italy 2-1. Team USA will face France on Sunday.