Boston Bruins prospect Ryan Donato led Team USA to victory on Friday in South Korea, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Slovakia in the preliminary round.
Slovakian goaltender Jan Laco had a solid game overall with 29 saves on 31 shots, but couldn’t stop Donato. The intriguing Bruins prospect, who also plays for his father Ted at Harvard, scored each goal on the power play.
Team USA plays Russia in their final preliminary round game on Saturday night. Considering how difficult it will be for the Americans to upend the Russians, that makes their victory over Slovakia that much more important.
Donato’s first goal came just over seven minutes into regulation, when he ripped a drop-back pass through Laco to put Team USA up 1-0. A rush by speedy forward Troy Terry drew two defenders, which left Donato wide open for the setup.
Slovakia tied the game just 25 seconds later, and the game stayed that way until Donato put Team USA back on top 2:51 into the third. The winger showed off his creativity and deft puck-handling as he spun away from a defender and buried the close-range shot past Laco to give the Americans the lead for good.
Donato could end up joining the Bruins later this season. But it’s also possible that Don Sweeney doesn’t want to burn the first year of his entry-level contract by having him play an abbreviated season while being thrust into a Stanley Cup-contending season as a rookie.
Whatever he ends up doing, he can at least say he played hero for Team USA for one night.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at email@example.com.