Olympics-Ice hockey-US crush Slovakia in Sochi opener

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By Frank Pingue

SOCHI, Russia, Feb 13 (Reuters) - The United States kicked off their quest for the men's ice hockey gold medal at the Sochi Olympics with a 7-1 rout of Slovakia on Thursday.

The Americans, looking to improve on their silver from the 2010 Games, scored six goals in the second period to snuff out any hopes Slovakia had of pulling off an upset.

Slovakia, who made an unlikely run to the bronze medal game in 2010, made a decent start and drew even at 1-1 with a goal 24 seconds into the second period.

However, they were unable to keep pace with the Americans, who responded with a goal a minute later before pulling away to complete the rout ahead of the intermission. (Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Peter Rutherford)