BOSTON (CBS) – The U.S. cruised to a comfortable 7-1 win over Slovakia on Thursday with two goals from Paul Stastny and one goal apiece from Ryan Kesler, Dustin Brown, David Backes, Phil Kessel and John Carlson.

John Powers of the Boston Globe is covering the Olympics in Sochi and came away very impressed with the victory. Even though it wasn’t much of a contest it was a “historic” win by the home country.

“Americans, what they don’t realize, is that win over Slovakia was historic. They’ve never beaten them in the Olympics before,” Powers said on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich Friday morning.

Slovakia is by no means a favorite to medal, but the way in which the U.S. dominated the Slovaks speaks volumes of their readiness to compete for the gold medal.

“It was a statement win, it was. I think they would’ve been happy to win and play well, but to score that many goals was good to see. A lot of us thought it was a real trap game for them, that there’d be so much talk about the Russians they’d get ahead of themselves.”

Group play continues on Saturday for Team USA where they’ll face the host country of Russia. Powers says all the Olympians for Russia could go home with nothing, but as long as the hockey team wins gold that’s all that matters.

That, plus their recent performances in international play, means the expectations for Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and company are at an all time high.

“I can’t overestimate how much pressure there is on Russia. People forget that the Russians got crushed by the Canadians in Vancouver, and they lost last year in the World Championships by their worst beating of any Russian team in history to the American JV’s.”

Listen below for the full discussion:


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