Jack Eichel, the Boston University star projected to go No. 2 at this year’s NHL Draft, scored with 30 seconds left in OT on Tuesday to give the U.S. a 5-4 win over Slovakia at the World Hockey Championships, clinching top spot in Group B in the process.
Eichel’s heroics came after a wild 60 minutes of regulation in which the U.S. built up a commanding 3-0 lead, surrendered it, then fell behind before evening things up late in the second period — a period that featured six goals all told.
The Slovaks were paced by L.A. Kings forward Marian Gaborik, who finished with a team-high two points (1G, 1A) in just under 18 minutes of ice time. Ex-NHLer Milan Bartovic also scored for Slovakia, along with Vladimir Dravecky and Adam Janosik.
For the Americans, Eichel and New York Islanders forward Anders Lee each finished with a goal, while Seth Jones, Ben Smith and Charlie Coyle all netted single markers.
With the win, the U.S. will now take on Switzerland in the tournament quarterfinals. Slovakia, which was already eliminated from medal contention, finished fifth in Group B but registered just one win at the Worlds, a 2-1 victory over Belarus.