The game opened with a U.S. scoring chance off an odd-man rush just 20 seconds into play. The play started with Johnny Gaudreau (Salem, N.J.) collecting the puck and hustling into the offensive zone before sending a cross-ice feed to DeBrincat for a redirection that sailed just wide of the net.
Slovakia opened the scoring off the stick of Matus Sukel 4:02 into play. After U.S. goaltender Schneider made an initial close-range save, Slovakia’s Marian Studenic was able to scoop up the rebound, wrap around the net and find Sukel in the slot for a 1-0 Slovakia lead.
Just past the midway point of the frame, Schneider stood tall with a point-blank save off a shot by Tomas Tatar to keep it a one-goal game.
Less than a minute later, DeBrincat knotted the score, 1-1, on the powerplay with 7:55 to play in the frame. Just over a minute into the man-advantage, Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) dished the puck over to the right faceoff dot where captain Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y.) lifted a pass over a Slovakian defender’s stick for DeBrincat to one-time a shot into the top left corner.
With four minutes remaining in the first frame, Clayton Keller (St. Louis, Mo.) had the chance at a wide-open net but Slovakia goaltender Patrik Rybar stretched wide to deny Keller’s attempt. Slovakia answered with a chance of its own, but Schneider recorded crucial back-to-back saves, including one that rang off his helmet, to preserve the 1-1 score going into the first intermission.
The first five minutes of the middle stanza featured a pair of Slovakia goals just three minutes apart for a 3-1 advantage. Slovakia’s first goal came 1:52 into the frame when Erik Cernak beat Schneider with a slapshot from the blue line. Tatar then added another goal three minutes later when his shot near the right post snuck under the glove arm of Schneider.
Midway through the frame, Schneider turned aside a breakaway chance and then followed up with another kick save to keep the U.S. within two.
With the U.S. searching for offense, Jack Hughes (Orlando, Fla.) generated perhaps the team’s best chance late in the frame after he brought the puck in from the far blue for a shot on target, but saw his chance turned away by Rybar as the U.S. entered the second intermission trailing Slovakia by a 3-1 margin.
Like the first period, the final frame opened with a flurry of U.S. chances. The first came off the stick of Eichel before another attempt by Gaudreau was also denied.
With 6:59 to play in regulation, a U.S. powerplay generated chances at both ends of the ice as both teams searched for the game’s next goal.
Slovakia’s Michal Kristoff tallied at the 15:54 mark when a shot from the slot snuck past a screened Schneider to account for the 4-1 final.