Brian Rafalski scored two late goals consecutively as the United States pounded Norway 6-1 in men’s Olympic hockey on Thursday.
Rafalski’s goals both came with the game well in hand in the final three minutes. The first one came on a power play with a one-timed blast from the slot, while the second was another one-timer, this one from the centre of the blue-line.
Phil Kessel started the scoring for the United States (2-0) a little more than two minutes into the game with a blistering wrist shot that rattled off the top right post and into the net.
At 13:04 in the opening period Chris Drury followed up with a goal that went in off of a rebound right in front of the net after a David Callahan shot.
Close to within six minutes into the second period, Patrick Kane made the score 3-0 for the United States, burying the puck past an out of position Paal Grotnes.
The American’s fourth goal came from Ryan Malone at 14:19 in the third period by batting the puck out of the air after a shot by Jack Johnson rebounded off the Norwegian backstop.
Five American players recorded two points, while seven more had one, including goaltender Ryan Miller who assisted on the Malone score.
Before the Malone goal, Norway (0-2) had been able to close the gap to 3-1 at 8:37 in the second period with a short-handed goal by Marius Holtet on a two-on-one break, beating Miller with a shot over his right shoulder.
The goal was the first for Norway in men’s Olympic hockey since the 1994 Games in Lilehammer, the last time they played hockey in the Games.
Two-on-one breaks became a theme for the Americans during the course of the game. A weak back check lead to five odd-man rushes for Norway.
Miller was able to neutralize these mistakes, making 10 saves. Even though he did not see a lot of shots come his way, only 11, almost all of those shots were quality chances, forcing the American net minder to come up big many times during the game.
On the other hand, Grotnes was assaulted the entire game, stopping 33 shots of the 39 he saw.
Neither team was very effective on the power play, the United States finished 1-for-5, while Norway was 0-for-2.
The U.S. will play Canada next in a game many believe will decide Group A’s winner on February 21 at 4:20 PM PST.
Norway’s next contest will be against Switzerland on February 20 at 12:00 PM PST.