clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Americans bounce Belarus, 5-2

The U.S. Olympic hockey team wasn't exactly crowing about its victory over a determined but careless and talent-shy Belarus.

"We've done a lot of talking, but there hasn't been a lot of action," U.S. coach Ron Wilson said Saturday after a 5-2 on four power-play goals - including two 5-on-3 advantages when Belarus was penalized for having too many men on the ice."We're a little frustrated," Wilson said, "because it hasn't come as easily as we thought it would."

Chris Chelios and Pat LaFontaine scored 85 seconds apart in the first period, both on two-man advantages because Belarus didn't keep track of its players.

"We were fortunate to get that and we know it," Chelios said. "We're working hard but we're still doing little things wrong. We've got to get a lot better 5-on-5."

Belarus, a former Soviet republic making its first appearance in the Olympic hockey tournament, had two even-strength goals to one for the United States, which also got power-play scores from Brian Leetch and Brett Hull.

"We have a lot of room to improve," Adam Deadmarsh said. "These games are definitely a learning process. We have one game left before it starts to really be do-or-die."

Canada, the tournament co-favorite and the Americans' opponent in Monday's round-robin finale, embarrassed Belarus 5-0 on Friday.

The U.S. team defeated Canada for the 1996 World Cup championship, and there has been bad blood between several players on both teams since.

"It'll probably be a lot more physical," Chelios said.

After playing Canada, the United States - and the other seven teams - advance to the single-elimination quarterfinals, which begin Wednesday.

Belarus, which has only two marginal NHL players compared with the United States' 23 stars, got a goal from Vasili Pankov 27 seconds into the third period to make it 3-2.

But Hull and Deadmarsh scored in the final 6:15 as the U.S. team finally wrapped up a game it probably should have won easily.