BUFFALO, N.Y. – Kyle Palmieri had two goals and an assist in leading the U.S. Junior hockey team to a 6-1 win over Slovakia in a preliminary round game of the World Championships on Tuesday night.
Charlie Coyle had a goal and two assists while Jack Campbell had a relatively easy night, stopping 17 shots in a game the defending gold-medal winners outshot the Slovaks 57-18.
Chris Brown, Drew Shore and Emerson Etem also scored as the Americans built a 4-0 lead on 35 shots less than 12 minutes into the second period.
The U.S. is coming off a tournament-opening 3-2 overtime win over Finland, and took over first place in the Group A pool with five points with two games left.
Tomas Jurco scored for Slovakia, which was coming off a 2-1 overtime win over Germany a day earlier.
In other preliminary round games Tuesday, Brayden Schenn had a goal and four assists in leading Canada (2-0) to a 7-2 win over the Czech Republic (1-1). Sweden (2-0) kept pace with Canada atop the Group B standings by riding Robin Lehner's 30-save effort in a 2-0 win over Russia (0-2).
Joni Ortio stopped 15 shots in Finland's 4-0 win over Switzerland (1-1). Finland moved into second place in the Group A standings with four points.
It was a chippy game as Slovakia's Peter Krasko and Martin Marincin were both issued match penalties and ejected for hits to the head. Both will automatically miss the team's next game against Switzerland on Thursday.
Krasko was ejected in the first period for getting his shoulder up in hitting Jerry D'Amigo along the boards in the Slovak zone. Marincin was ejected with less than eight minutes left, when he elbowed Jason Zucker to the face. D'Amigo returned to play, while Zucker was woozy as he got up, and had to be helped off the ice.
The U.S. beat Slovakia for the eighth time in 10 meetings (8-1-1) by thoroughly dominating the opening period. The Americans outshot the Slovaks 22-1, and built a 2-0 lead before Slovakia had registered its only shot midway through the period.
Palmieri opened the scoring at 4:31 by driving to the top of the crease, where he easily tapped in Coyle's centering pass. Chris Kreider started the play by forcing a turnover at center.
Palmieri then scored 3:31 later during a 5-minute power play after Krasko was ejected. Set up to the left of the net, Palmieri sneaked in a shot from a bad angle after goalie Dominik Riecicky was slow getting back into position after Jon Merrill's shot from the right circle sailed just wide.
The Americans then built on their lead as Coyle and Brown scored power-play goals eight minutes apart before Jurco converted Juraj Majdan's pass through the crease for Slovakia's goal.
The U.S. responded as Shore and Etem scored goals 3:25 apart late in the second period to build a 6-1 lead while chasing Riecicky, who finished with 34 saves.
Earlier in the day, Etem caused a local stir by posting a comment on his Twitter account, in which he called Buffalo "the worst city ever," and that it makes Medicine Hat, Alberta, "look like paradise."
Etem, who plays for the Western Hockey League Medicine Hat Tigers, later apologized by referring to it as "a poorly written tweet," and that he didn't mean to put down a great city.
Etem was booed as the starting lineups were announced, booed each time he touched the puck, and particularly booed when he was announced as scoring the game's sixth goal late in the second period.