Isaac Owusu - Thursday Feb. 13, 2014 10:02 ET

U.S. trounce Slovakia in men's hockey

Americans score 6 goals in 2nd period in 7-1 rout

David Backes
David Backes #42 of United States scores a goal against Jaroslav Halak #41 of Slovakia in the second period (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The United States Olympic hockey team used a six-goal second period to blow out Slovakia 7-1 Thursday in Sochi.

The second period featured goals from Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, David Backes, Dustin Brown and two from Paul Stastny.

"I think it gets that monkey off a few guys' backs, the ones who are a little apprehensive or worried, or you know, nervous about their first Olympic experience," Backes said.

"It's a good thing to get that game and win out of the way. It gives us that little bit of confidence going into the next game and we know that we've got four lines that can each produce.

"At any given time we can get that goal that we need," he added.

Kesler's goal at 1:26 of the second turned out to be the game winner.

It was Stastny's second goal that put the U.S. ahead 5-1 and resulted in Jaroslav Halak's exit. Peter Budaj came in replacement but wasn't effective, allowing goals by Brown and Kessel.

Tomas Tatar had the lone high point for the Slovaks when he scored the first goal of the second period, tying 1-1 just 24 seconds into the second by beating U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick on a snapshot.

John Carlson scored the first U.S. goal at 14:27 in the first period.

Toronto Maple Leaf teammates James van Riemsdyk and Kessel put on a show, combining for five points. 

"They were flying, and we couldn't keep up. We made some mistakes, especially in the second period, and they made us pay for it," Budaj said.

The U.S. finished with 33 shots to the 23 from Slovakia.

"They are a great team, so they are definitely one of them along with Canada and Russia," said Marian Hossa of Slovakia.

The U.S. takes on Slovenia on Sunday in their next preliminary match.

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