The U.S. dominated Germany in Group A, despite the best efforts of goaltender Ilya Sharipov, while Russia brutalized Switzerland early Sunday in Group B.
There wasn’t much doubt coming into the game that the U.S. would defeat Germany at the World Junior Championship Sunday, and the Americans proved everyone right with a dominating 6-0 victory.
Despite an admirable job from German goaltender Ilya Sharipov, who stopped the majority of the American onslaught with some slick glove work, the U.S. were better than their opponents in every facet of the game. They were bigger, stronger, faster and made better plays with the puck. They threw tenacious hits, beat the Germans to the puck and pummelled them with 53 shots. The Germans stood no chance.
Perhaps Germany emptied their tanks against Canada on Saturday, but they looked like a completely different team, making mistakes all over the ice and having a hard time keeping up with the American squad. They had no zip, they looked sluggish and if it wasn’t for their goaltender, they may have lost the game by double digits.
Goals from Auston Matthews, Hudson Fasching, Sonny Milano, Jack Eichel and two from Dylan Larkin gave the squad the win. The U.S. seemed to ease up in the third period, possibly to secure energy for their 4:00 p.m. ET game on Sunday against Slovakia, who surprised the hockey world with a win over Finland on Saturday, but they looked spectacular from beginning to end.
The American squad that showed up Sunday was night and day compared to the team that barely squeaked by Finland in their first game. They looked like the team that everyone expects to challenge for a gold medal. If this same team shows up for the New Year’s Eve showdown against Canada, it could make for a real barn burner of a game and possibly the best of the tournament.
In Group B, Russia overwhelmed Switzerland 7-0. After a surprising 5-2 win over the Czech Republic, the Swiss turned heads and it was obvious the Russians weren’t going to mess around. They brutalized the Swiss and despite a large number of penalties, they walked away with the easy victory. Unfortunately, some of their brutality came at the expense of Swiss defenseman Phil Baltisberger, who was taken off the ice on a stretcher after receiving a high hit from Anatoli Golyshev. Golyshev was given a five-minute major interference penalty which carries an automatic game misconduct.