BEIJING, China — They may be the youngest team in the competition, but the U.S. men's hockey team got off to a flying start, whipping China 8-0 in the Olympic qualifying round.
Forward Sean Farrell led the way with a hat trick (3 goals) and two assists for a five-point game. Noah Cates, Brendan Brisson, Brian O'Neill, Ben Meyers and Seattle Kraken prospect Matty Beniers also scored for the Americans.
Beniers, who was drafted by the Seattle Kraken with the second overall pick in the 2021 NHL draft, had five shots on goal and won eight faceoffs for Team USA.
Boston University goaltender Drew Commesso made 29 saves. U.S.-born Jeremy Smith kept it close for China for the first half of the game before the talent disparity showed through. Seven of the eight U.S. goals were scored by players currently in college.
Defensemen Brock Faber led all U.S. players in ice time, logging 23 minutes and 25 seconds. Beniers was on the ice for 18 minutes and 11 seconds, which was the second-longest time on the team during the game.
Goaltender Drew Comesso earned the shutout win, stopping 29 shots. The 19-year-old from Boston University is the youngest tender to ever start for a U.S. men's Olympic team.
The U.S. and Canada will face off next. The game will be interesting, as the roster for both teams was significantly impacted by the NHL's decision to not allow its players to take part in the Olympics due to concerns over COVID and China's quarantine policies.