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U.S. Men's National Team Beats Belarus, 6-1, in IIHF Men's Worlds Opener

05/09/2014, 4:00pm MDT
By USAHockey.com

MINSK, Belarus – Jacob Trouba (Rochester, Mich./University of Michigan/Winnipeg Jets) scored twice and Johnny Gaudreau (Carneys Points, N.J./Boston College/Calgary Flames) had a goal and two assists to help the U.S. Men’s National Team past Belarus, 6-1, in its opening game of the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship here today. Goaltender Tim Thomas (Flint, Mich./University of Vermont/Dallas Stars) made 20 saves.

Leading 1-0 late in the second period, Team USA had a three-goal outburst over a 2:43 span to seize command of the game.

"Tonight was a very close game and in the first period it was ultra competitive," said Peter Laviolette, head coach of the 2014 U.S. Men's National Team. "I thought that Belarus played extremely hard and I liked the competitiveness of our guys as well. In the second period, the play was being taken to us and then a few goals went our way. I thought the power play was good tonight."

Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn./University of North Dakota/N.Y. Islanders) gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with a power-play marker 12:22 into the first period. Tyler Johnson (Spokane, Wash./Tampa Bay Lightning) started the scoring play when he took a pass at the top of the right circle, walked in and fed the puck to Craig Smith (Madison, Wis./University of Wisconsin/Nashville Predators) in the slot. Smith redirected the pass towards the net, and Nelson turned and batted it over Belarus goaltender Andrei Mezin’s leg.

The U.S. built a 4-0 lead by 17:42 of the middle frame thanks to a three-goal outburst in less than three minutes. Trouba gave Team USA a 2-0 lead at 14:59 when he one-timed a Danny DeKeyser (Clay Township, Mich./Western Michigan University/Detroit Red Wings) pass from the point just inside the far post. Gaudreau made it 3-0 54 seconds later when he picked up a pass entering the zone, used the Belarus defender as a screen and picked a corner, and Colin McDonald (Wethersfield, Conn./Providence College/N.Y. Islanders) knocked a cross-crease pass into a wide-open net at 17:42 to make it 4-0.

After a late second-period goal by Team Belarus cut the U.S. lead to 4-1, Trouba and Jake Gardiner (Minnetonka, Minn./University of Wisconsin/Toronto Maple Leafs) each notched power-play goals in the third period to give the U.S. a 6-1 victory.

The U.S. Men’s National Team (1-0-0-0) will continue preliminary-round action tomorrow (May 10) against Switzerland. Puck-drop is schedule for 1:45 p.m. ET and can be viewed live on NBC Sports Network.


GameDay Coverage


USA vs. Belarus -- The Series

ALL-TIME vs. BELARUS
Team USA is 4-0-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) against the Belarusians in the IIHF Men’s World Championship. Most recently in 2012, the U.S. won 5-2 in a preliminary round game. Justin Abdelkader tallied a goal and an assist and was named Team USA’s Best Player.
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USA Opens vs Canada on Friday, May 6

KOSICE, Slovakia – Ty Conklin (Anchorage, Alaska/St. Louis Blues/University of New Hampshire) made 48 saves, however, the U.S. Men's National team fell to Canada, 4-3, in a shootout here today in the first qualification-round game for both teams at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Men's Championship.

The U.S. picked up a point in the standings and now owns a 2-0-1-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record.

"Our goaltending was tremendous and gave us a chance to win the hockey game," saidScott Gordon, head coach of Team USA. "Obviously it's disappointing not to win. We've got to re-focus and be ready for a tough opponent in France tomorrow."

After a scoreless first period, Mike Komisarek (Islip Terrace, N.Y./Toronto Maple Leafs/University of Michigan) put Team USA on the board 4:13 into the second period. Conklin cleared the puck to Craig Smith(Madison, Wis./University of Wisconsin), who skated through the neutral zone and connected with Derek Stepan (Hastings, Minn./New York Rangers/University of Wisconsin) at the blue line near the left side boards. Stepan then sent a long cross-ice pass to Komisarek just inside the blue line on the half wall, who fired a shot through traffic that trickled between Reimer's legs.

Canada tied the game just over three minutes later, when Brent Burns released a shot as he was falling to the ice that beat a diving Conklin.

The U.S. responded with 6:13 left in the middle frame to regain a one-goal lead. Yan Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./CSKA Moscow/University of Notre Dame) caused a turnover in the U.S. zone and quickly pushed the puck to Blake Wheeler (Robbinsdale, Minn./Atlanta Thrashers/University of Minnesota), who hit Jack Johnson (Ann Arbor, Mich./Los Angeles Kings/University of Michigan) just seconds after coming out of the penalty box. Johnson flew into the offensive zone on a breakaway, moved the puck from his forehand and backhanded a shot through the legs of Reimer.

John Tavares knotted the score for Canada at the 3:27 mark of the third period. After his initial shot hit the right post behind Conklin, Tavares knocked the puck out of the air and into the net. Canada took a 3-2 lead less than two minutes later thanks to a four-on-three power-play goal by Jason Spezza.

Team USA scored a power-play goal of its own 1:17 past the midway point that eventually sent the game to overtime. Wheeler and Stepan connected for a give-and-go play down low that ended with Wheeler sending a feed from the right goal line to Stepan in the slot, who banked the puck off Reimer and into the back of the net.

Following a scoreless five-minute four-on-four overtime period, the game went to game-winning shots. Johnson and Wheeler could not find a way past Reimer, while Jordan Eberle and Rick Nash each scored to lift Canada to the 4-3 victory.

The U.S. Men's National Team will next face France tomorrow (May 7), at 2:15 p.m. EDT in its second qualification-round game. Scoring updates will be available on Twitter by following #2011WMC. For Team USA coverage from Slovakia throughout the IIHF World Men's Championship, including game blogs and postgame video, visit the U.S. Men's National Team blog. The game will air tape-delayed on Versus at 11 p.m. EDT, following National Hockey League playoff action.

NOTES: Team USA went 1-for-3 on the power play, while Canada was 1-for-6 with the man advantage ... Ty Conklin was named the U.S. Player of the Game ...  The U.S. Men's National Team's fourth-place finish at the 2009 IIHF World Men's Championship was Team USA's best finish at the tournament since capturing the bronze medal in 2004 ... The 2011 U.S. Men’s National Team is under the direction of the U.S. Men’s National Team Advisory Group, including NHL general managers Brian Burke(Toronto), Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia), Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles), David Poile(Nashville), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) and Dale Tallon (Florida); Atlanta Thrashers presidentDon Waddell; and Jim Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director for hockey operations. Paul Fenton, assistant general manager of the Nashville Predators and general manager of the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals, is serving as associate general manager of the 2011 U.S. Men's National Team ... Scott Gordon is head coach for the second consecutive year after leading the 2010 U.S. Men's National Team, while Greg Cronin, Phil Housley and Barry Smith are serving as assistants ... USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Tony Rossi, vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams ... Versus will provide television coverage of the first six U.S. games at the 2011 IIHF World Men's Championship, in addition to the semifinal round and gold-medal game. For more information, visitUSAHockey.com.

GAME SUMMARY

Scoring By Period

CAN 0- 1- 2- 0- 1- 4
USA 0- 2- 1- 0- 0- 3

First Period - Scoring: None. Penalties: USA, Komisarek (roughing), 1:12; CAN, Skinner (tripping), 3:16; USA, Kreider (holding), 17:07.

Second Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Komisarek (Smith, Stepan), 4:13; 2, CAN, Burns (Pietrangelo), 7:20; 3, USA, Johnson (Wheeler, Stastny), 13:47. Penalties: USA, Fowler (slashing), 5:20; CAN, Phaneuf (holding), 7:57; USA, Johnson (cross-checking), 11:38.

Third Period - Scoring: 4, CAN, Tavares (Stewart, Gragnani), 3:27; 5, CAN, Spezza (Tavares, Burns), 5:22 (pp); 6, USA, Stepan (Wheeler), 11:17 (pp). Penalties: USA, Porter (boarding), 1:23; USA, Komisarek (interference), 4:42; CAN, Kane (high-sticking), 4:42; USA, Shattenkirk (hooking), 5:10; CAN, Clutterbuck (slashing), 10:43

Overtime - Scoring: None. Penalties: None.

Game-Winning Shots: 1, USA, Johnson (no goal); 2, CAN, Eberle (goal); 3, USA, Wheeler (no goal); 4, CAN, Nash (goal).

Shots by Period 1 2 3 OT GWS Total
CAN 14 16 17 4 1 52
USA 4 7 8 1 0 20
             
Goaltenders (SH/SV) 1 2 3     Total
CAN, Reimer, 65:00 4-4 7-5 8-7 1-1 0-0 20-17
USA, Conklin, 65:00 14-14 16-15 17-15 4-4 1-0 52-48

Power Play: CAN 1-6; USA 1-3
Penalties: CAN 4-8; USA 7-14
Referees: Sami Partanen, Daniel Piechaczek
Linesmen: Jiri Gebauer, Jussi Terho

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