SALT LAKE CITY -- It was a game only in the sense that two teams showed up and spectators paid to see it.
The U.S. women's hockey team crushed the German squad, 10-0, yesterday, to open its gold-medal defense.
Eight players scored goals for the U.S. team, and in almost every way imaginable. Slap shots, deflections, wrist shots and little poke shots from the crease. The only things missing from the arsenal were a breakaway and a goal by goaltender Sara DeCosta.
She might as well have tried because German skaters only forced her to make eight saves while the Americans pressed her counterparts to make 47.
Asked afterward what it would take to beat the Americans, German coach Rainer Nittel said: "Ten years of hard work."
The U.S. women struck early in the first period, delighting the near-capacity partisan crowd. Karyn Bye took a pass from behind the net from Jenny Potter and rifled it past goalie Stephanie Wartosch-Kurten.
The second goal came at 15:05, as Laurie Baker swept around behind the net and poked it off the pads of the sprawling German goalie. Bye and Chris Bailey were credited with the assists.
When the first 20 minutes were over, the Americans had 18 shots on goal to three for the Germans.
The middle period was all-American on offense and defense, as the Germans got just two shots on goal and the U.S. team answered with four scores.
The Germans changed goalies in the second period after a three-goal barrage in less than two minutes, but that failed to stem the scoring.
"We were very motivated for the first period. It was good for us and we had some chances," said German defender Sabine Ruckauer. "But when it wasn't working well for us, we started trying too hard and everyone started playing on their own and not as a team."
Bye, who was the leading American scorer in the 1998 Winter Games, picked up where she left off, with two goals and two assists.
Natalie Darwitz, the second-youngest member of the team at 18, scored consecutive goals in the second period, the last one starting the attack that chased Wartosch-Kurten and brought on goalie Esther Thyssen.
While this is the second Olympics to have women's hockey, it marks the debut of the German squad.
Despite the score, Potter said the game wasn't easy, and she doesn't expect the coming ones to be, either.
"Germany was pretty physical and made it a tough game," she said. "I definitely think the other teams have gotten stronger and faster since four years ago."
Tomorrow, the Americans play China, a team they beat six times by a combined 69-6 in the exhibition season that preceded the Olympics.