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U.S. Men's National Team Skates Past Switzerland, 3-2

05/10/2014, 7:00pm EDT
By USAHockey.com

MINSK, Belarus – Peter Mueller (Bloomington, Minn.), Craig Smith (Madison, Wis./University of Wisconsin/Nashville Predators) and Tyler Johnson (Spokane, Wash./Tampa Bay Lightning) scored to help the U.S. Men's National Team to a 3-2 victory over Switzerland in its second preliminary-round contest at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship here today.

“We’re really happy with our effort tonight,” said Peter Laviolette, head coach of the 2014 U.S. Men’s National Team. “I think our guys did a terrific job of showing up in the second night of back-to-back games. They didn’t quit and kept playing in the third period. It was a competitive game both ways, there was a great atmosphere in the building and those are the types of games you want to be in.”

Smith and Johnson scored third-period goals to help the U.S. erase a 2-1 Switzerland advantage. Smith evened the score at 1:28 when he tapped home a rebound from the edge of the crease on a power play. Johnson sent a pass into the slot that Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn./University of North Dakota/N.Y. Islanders) pushed towards the net. His try was blocked, but Smith found the loose puck and scored. Then, with 6:45 remaining in the game, Johnson took a pass from Seth Jones (Plano, Texas/Nashville Predators) at the top of the left circle and quickly sent a shot through traffic and past Swiss goaltender Reto Berra to give Team USA a 3-2 lead.

Following a scoreless first period, Switzerland struck first at 1:28 of the second stanza.

Team USA responded when Mueller converted on a breakaway at 6:15 to knot the score at 1-1. Just after a penalty to Mueller ended, Tim Stapleton (La Grange, Ill./University of Minnesota Duluth) made a perfect outlet pass to spring Mueller in on the break. Mueller moved towards the net, slowed and fired a shot through Berra’s legs. Jeff Petry (Ann Arbor, Mich./Michigan State University/Edmonton Oilers) was credited with the second assist on the play.

The Swiss responded with a goal to retake the lead at 9:39 of the middle period and carried the 2-1 edge into the second intermission.

U.S. goaltender Tim Thomas (Flint, Mich./University of Vermont/Dallas Stars) made 27 saves and was named Team USA's "best player" in the postgame ceremony. Berra had 35 saves for Switzerland.

The U.S. Men's National Team (2-0-0-0) will continue play in the IIHF Men's World Championship Monday (May 12) at 1:45 p.m. ET vs. Russia. The game can be watched live on NBC Sports Network.

Team USA Schedule

DateĀ  OpponentĀ  Result
Fri., May 9 Belarus W, 6-1
Sat., May 10 Switzerland W, 3-2
Mon., May 12 Russia L, 1-6
Thu., May 15 Latvia L, 5-6
Fri., May 16 Kazakhstan W, 4-3 (OT)
Sun., May 18 Finland W, 3-1
Tue., May 20 Germany W, 5-4
Thu., May 22 Czech Republic
(Quarterfinals)
L, 3-4

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HELSINKI, Finland - Kyle Palmieri (Smithtown, N.Y./Anaheim Ducks/University of Notre Dame) and Bobby Ryan (Cherry Hill, N.J./Anaheim Ducks) each scored for Team USA, but Finland's Jesse Jonesuu tallied the game-winning goal with nine seconds remaining in regulation, as the U.S. Men's National Team fell to Finland, 3-2, in the quarterfinals of the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship at Hartwall Arena.

Team USA won six of its eight games in the tournament and officially finished with a record of 4-2-0-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L). The U.S. will finish sixth in the final standings if Sweden beats the Czech Republic in the final quarterfinal game tonight in Stockholm or seventh if the Czech Republic wins.

"We knew it would be a tough game," saidScott Gordon, head coach of Team USA. "We battled and certainly had our chances, but tonight they were just a little bit better than us. In the end, I liked our group and thought they represented our country extremely well."

After a scoreless first period, Finland opened the scoring at 13:27 of the second period. But the U.S. responded 21 seconds later when Jeff Petry (Ann Arbor, Mich./Edmonton Oilers/Michigan State University) found Palmieri streaking through the slot. Palmieri redirected the pass into the back of the net to tie the game and send the teams into the second intermission tied 1-1.

Ryan put home a rebound of a Justin Faulk (South St. Paul, Minn./Carolina Hurricanes/University of Minnesota Duluth) shot from the point to stake the U.S. to a 2-1 lead just 1:39 into the third period. The U.S. maintained its lead until Mikko Koivu had a puck glance off his skate and past Jimmy Howard (Syracuse, N.Y./Detroit Red Wings/University of Maine) with 6:58 left in regulation to tie the game. Joensuu recorded his second goal of the game from the side of the net with nine seconds remaining to give Finland the victory.

Howard, who was named Team USA's Player of the Game, made 28 saves, while Petri Vehanen had 24 stops for Finland.

NOTES: Team USA's Best Three Players of the Tournament were Jimmy Howard, Paul Stastny and Justin Faulk ... Justin Faulk led all Team USA defensemen with eight points (4-4) in the tournament. He also paced the team with a plus-nine rating ... Team USA didn't have a power-play opportunity on the night, while Finland went 0-for-1 with the man advantage ... Max Pacioretty's 12 points (2-10) were the most points of any U.S. player in the IIHF Men's World Championship since at least 1975 ... Defenseman Jack Johnsonwas the captain of Team USA. The alternate captains were forwards Jim Slater and Nate Thompson ... Scott Gordon was the head coach of the 2012 U.S. Men's National Team. Greg Cronin and David Quinn served as assistant coaches ... The 2012 U.S. Men’s National Team was under the direction of the U.S. Men’s National Team Advisory Group, led by Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. Other members include NHL general managers Stan Bowman (Chicago), Brian Burke (Toronto), Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia), Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles), David Poile (Nashville), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) and Dale Tallon (Florida) and Pittsburgh Penguins pro scout Don Waddell ... USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Tony Rossi, vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams ... NBC Sports televised all Team USA games in the 2012 IIHF Men's World Championship. 

GAME SUMMARY

Scoring By Period

USA 0- 1- 1- 2
FIN 0- 1- 2- 3

First Period – Scoring: None. Penalties: None.

Second Period – Scoring: 1, FIN, Joensuu (Pihlstrom, Kukkonen), 13:27; 2, USA, Palmieri (Petry, Crabb), 13:48. Penalties: USA, Pacioretty (hooking), 7:35.

Third Period – Scoring: 3, USA, Ryan (Faulk, Smith), 1:39; FIN, Koivu (Jokinen, Filppula), 13:02; 5, FIN, Joensuu (Kontiola), 19:51. Penalties: None.

Shots by Period 1 2 3 Total
USA 10 9 7 26
FIN 7 10 14 31
         
Goaltenders (SH/SV)  1 2 3 Total
USA, Howard, 59:49 7/7 10/9 14/12 31/28
FIN, Vehanen, 60:00 10/10 9/8 7/6 26/24

Power Play: USA 0-0; FIN 0-1
Penalties: USA 1-2; FIN 0-0

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