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U.S. chases Slovakia’s Halak in second period

Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men

USA forward James van Riemsdyk celebrates John Carlson’s goal in front of the Slovakia’s goal as Slovakia goaltender Jaroslav Halak get up from his knees during mens’ ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Martin Rose, Pool)

Martin Rose

Slovak goaltender Jaroslav Halak held his own in the first period against Team USA in Thursday’s contest, but the Americans elevated their game in the second frame and Slovakia wasn’t able to keep up.

Halak conceded four unanswered goals over the span of roughly 12 minutes before he was mercifully pulled from this contest with the score at 5-1. Montreal Canadiens netminder Peter Budaj replaced Halak, but that didn’t slow Team USA’s assault as Phil Kessel and Dustin Brown found the back of the net on the first two shots Budaj faced.

When Slovakia surprised the world by finishing fourth in the 2010 Winter Games, Halak was a big part of that, but the rest of the team is weaker than they were four years ago, especially after Marian Gaborik and Lubomir Visnovsky were ruled out due to injuries.

Assuming he doesn’t return in the third, Halak’s finishes with 20 saves on 25 shots. The U.S. went into the second intermission with a commanding 7-1 lead, with six of their goals coming within the span of 14 minutes during the middle frame.

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