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U.S. Men's National Team Beats Finland, 3-1, at IIHF Worlds

05/18/2014, 11:45am EDT
By USAHockey.com

MINSK, Belarus - Tyler Johnson (Spokane, Wash./Tampa Bay Lightning) scored  twice, Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn./Univ. of North Dakota/N.Y. Islanders) had a single goal and goaltender Tim Thomas (Flint, Mich./Univ. of Vermont/Dallas Stars) turned in a 22-save effort to help the U.S. Men's National Team hold off Finland, 3-1, in its penultimate preliminary-round game at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship here today.

“I was really happy to see our guys compete the way they did tonight,” said Peter Laviolette, head coach of the 2014 U.S. Men’s National Team. “I thought it was our strongest game of the tournament. Defensively, we were fairly tight and we made the most of our chances offensively. We realize that it was an important game for both teams.”

Nelson's goal was scored on the first shift of the contest after the puck took an auspicious bounce off the glass. The play started when Seth Jones (Plano, Texas/Nashville Predators) fired the puck hard into the zone from center ice and Finland goaltender Pekka Rinne left his net to try and stop it. Before the puck got to Rinne, it deflected off a stanchion and right to Nelson at the doorstep, where he tapped it in to give the United States a 1-0 lead.

Both teams enjoyed limited offensive chances in the middle frame, thanks largely to sound defense at both ends and timely saves by Thomas and Rinne.

After a few big stops by Thomas in the early portion of the third period, Johnson scored from high in the zone at 6:42 to give Team USA a 2-0 advantage. Craig Smith (Madison, Wis./Univ. of Wisconsin/Nashville Predators) fed a pass in the neutral zone to Johnson, who walked to the middle of the ice just above the circles before threading a shot through a Finland defender and over Rinne's glove. Jones recorded his second assist of the game and seventh of the championship on the play.

The Finns broke through to make it a 2-1 game with 3:14 remaining in the third stanza when a shot from the top of the right circle bounced off a stick in front of Thomas and found its way to the back of the net. Johnson scored an empty-netter in the final minute to close out the U.S. win.

The U.S. Men's National Team (3-1-0-2) will conclude its preliminary-round schedule Tuesday (May 20) against Germany at 5:45 a.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.

More News


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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Team USA dug out of a two-goal deficit to defeat Austria, 5-3. Erik Johnson scored twice.

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