Ryan Donato Scores Twice as USA Beats Slovakia in Olympics Hockey 2018

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2018

Ryan Donato (16), of the United States, celebrates his teammates after scoring a goal against Slovakia during the second period of the qualification round of the men's hockey game at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The United States advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2018 Winter Olympics men's ice hockey tournament in Pyeongchang, South Korea, following a 5-1 win over Slovakia in its Monday qualification match.

Ryan Donato scored twice to power the U.S. to the comfortable victory.

Following a scoreless opening period, Slovakia came unraveled in the second.

Donato put the United States ahead one minute, 36 seconds into the second period. It was the third time he scored against Slovakia after being responsible for both of the U.S. goals in a 2-1 win in the preliminary round. NBC Olympics shared a replay of the opening tally:

NBC Olympics @NBCOlympics

"ANOTHER ONE." -@donatoryan, probably. The Harvard guy puts @usahockey up on Slovakia in their elimination game! #WinterOlympics https://t.co/g0eF7osb79 https://t.co/Rlpuh6po1V

Not even 30 seconds later, Slovakia shot itself in the foot with a pair of penalties. Ladislav Nagy earned two minutes in the box for interference, and Michal Cajkovsky received a match penalty for a hit on Donato.

The United States didn't take long to capitalize on the two-man advantage, as James Wisniewski scored at the 22:20 mark to put his team ahead 2-0.

Cam Atkinson, Wisniewski's former Columbus Blue Jackets teammate, was happy to see the 33-year-old get on the board:

Cam Atkinson @CamAtkinson13

That a boy @jameswisniewski. Seen that one timer before 🏒

Mark Arcobello scored the United States' third goal at the 33:30 mark.

Although Troy Terry didn't register a goal during the Americans' second-period blitz, the Denver Post's Mark Kiszla singled him out for praise after the University of Denver star assisted on each of the team's three goals:

Mark Kiszla @markkiszla

US men's hockey team appears destined to advance in knockout round, up 3-0 on Slovakia in 2nd period. And big reason why: Three assists, all beauties by Troy Terry, pride of the #DUPioneers.

Peter Ceresnak stopped the bleeding temporarily for Slovakia to make it 3-1, but Garrett Roe answered back with a goal in the third period to put the United States back into a three-goal lead. NBC Olympics offered a second look at the score, which came off a nice assist by Broc Little:

NBC Olympics @NBCOlympics

What a goal by @TeamUSA! The fight from Brian O'Neill. The dish to Broc Little. Garrett Roe finishes to put the @usahockey men up 4-1! #WinterOlympics https://t.co/g0eF7oJMvJ https://t.co/dCKVxjHK0p

Donato put the finishing touches on the game with his second goal to put the U.S. ahead 5-1 with 3:14 left.

The United States finished with 33 shots on goal, two fewer than it had in its 2-1 win over Slovakia in the preliminary round, illustrating how lethal the Americans were in front of goal.

Team USA will face off with the Czech Republic in the next round at 10:10 p.m. ET Tuesday.

Although Team USA had its best performance of the 2018 Olympics on Monday, it will have its hands full against the Czech Republic. The Czechs were perfect during the preliminary round, including beating Canada 3-2 in a shootout for Canada's first loss in Olympic hockey since 2010.