China was no match for the United States on Thursday, with the Americans taking a 8-0 victory in its first game of the tournament.
It was a tough outing as expected for China, who was taking part in its first-ever men's Olympic hockey game. China held their own throughout the first half of the game, but USA's experience and overall speed took over in the second half and China, the 32nd-ranked team according to the IIHF, couldn't keep up.
China, especially goaltender Jeremy Smith, did a great job of keeping the Americans off the scoreboard for much of the first period. But at 10:38 on the power play, Brendan Brisson grabbed a loose puck from Matt Knies in a scramble in front and beat Smith glove side.
China was doing everything it could to make USA's life tough, and it took a tremendous pass by Sean Farrell to create the second goal early in the second. Philadelphia Flyers prospect Noah Cates scored at 5:32 after Farrell made a quick backhand pass behind the net, catching Smith and the Chinese defense off guard to double USA's lead.
China started to falter in the second period, with the Americans showing their speed. At 11:13. Brian O'Neill, the only returning player from USA's team in 2018, scored on a shot that just trickled past Smith and in, while Farrell's quick wrist shot went bar down and in for the fourth goal at 38:07. Farrell added two more goals and an assist in the third and Matty Beniers added a goal himself to cap the game off at 8-0, a dominating performance from start to finish.
USA will look for the top spot in Group A in its game against Canada on Friday night at 11:40 PM ET. China will play Saturday at 3:40 AM against a German team also seeking its first win.