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U.S. Defeats Latvia, 5-3, at MWC

05/13/2017, 6:30am MDT
By USAHockey.com

COLOGNE, Germany -- Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor, Mich./Winnipeg Jets/University of Michigan) scored the game-winner with 3:22 to play and the U.S. Men’s National Team overcame a pair of two-goal deficits to defeat Latvia, 5-3, here at the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship at LAXNESS Arena.

“We certainly didn’t have the start we wanted,” said Jeff Blashill, head coach of the 2017 U.S. Men’s National Team. “Our guys stayed with it though and didn’t panic. I thought Copp (Andrew), Compher (JT) and Bjugstad (Nick) got us back in the game and gave us some life.”

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Less than three minutes into the opening period, Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce, Mich./Winnipeg Jets/UMass Lowell) kept the game scoreless when he snagged a wrist shot headed to the glove-side corner on a Latvian 2-on-1 rush.

Latvia took a 1-0 lead when Teodors Blugers redirected the puck from the slot with 8:37 to play in the opening frame.

Kaspars Daugavins doubled the Latvian lead just :07 into the second period when he poked a rebound past Hellebuyck.

J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill./Colorado Avalanche/University of Michigan) deflected a sharp-angle shot by Anders Lee (Edina, Minn./NY Islanders/University of Notre Dame) past Elvis Merzlikins to cut the Latvian lead in half 9:00 into the second stanza.

Latvia responded 2:37 later when Oskars Cibulskis scored a power-play goal on a two-on-one rush with Miks Indrasis to make the score 3-1.

The U.S. again made it a one-goal game when Nick Bjugstad (Minneapolis, Minn./Florida Panthers/University of Minnesota), who also had an assist in the game, buried a rebound off a shot by Nick Schmaltz (Madison, Wis./Chicago Blackhawks/University of North Dakota) with 6:16 left in the middle frame.

Johnny Gaudreau (Salem, N.J./Calgary Flames/Boston College) tied the game with 1:23 remaining in the second period with his fourth goal of the tournament. The play started when Jacob Trouba (Rochester, Mich./Winnipeg Jets/University) skated around the net, turned and fired a shot off the pad of Merzlikins before Gaudreau pounced on the loose puck and put home the rebound.

Team USA controlled the play in the final period, outshooting Latvia 15-6, and broke the tie with 3:22 remaining when Copp’s shot from the slot went off Merzlikins' glove and into the back to the net to give the U.S. a 4-3 lead.

Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich./Detroit Red Wings/University of Michigan) intercepted a cross-ice pass in the slot and fired a clearing attempt down the ice as he was falling down that found the empty net with 1:02 left to account for the final 5-3 final.

Hellebuyck finished with 20 saves for the U.S.

Team USA (4-0-0-1; W-OTW-OTL-L) returns to action against Slovakia tomorrow (May 14) at 10:15 a.m. ET (Live on NHL Network; live stream on NBC Sports app and at NBCSports.com).

NOTES: Andrew Copp was named U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA outshot Latvia, 33-23 … The U.S. was 0-for-3 on the power play, while Latvia finished 1-for-4 ... Dylan Larkin’s empty net goal extended his point streak to five games. He is lone U.S. player to record a point in each of Team USA’s five games in the tournament. The goal was his first of the world championship, to go along with seven assists … The U.S. can clinch a spot in the quarterfinal round with a win tomorrow against Slovakia … Defenseman Brady Skjei and forward Kevin Hayes arrived this afternoon in Cologne and could be in the lineup tomorrow for the U.S. … For complete game stats, click here … NHL Network’s live game schedule for the IIHF Men's World Championship is available here ... The official online home of the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championship is IIHFWorlds2017.com … Join the conversation using #2017MWC.

 

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USA MWC Schedule

DATE OPPONENT Result ARENA LOCATION
May 2 Italy (exh.) W, 5-2 Agora Arena Milan, Italy
May 5 Germany L, 1-2 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany
May 7 Denmark W, 7-2 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany
May 8 Sweden W, 4-3 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany
May 10 Italy W, 3-0 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany
May 13 Latvia W, 5-3 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany
May 14 Slovakia W, 6-1 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany
May 16 Russia W, 5-3 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany
May 18 Finland (quarterfinal) L, 0-2 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany

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