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U.S. Edges Latvia, 3-2, In OT For Fourth-Straight Win at 2018 MWC

By USAHockey.com, 05/10/18, 10:30AM EDT

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Atkinson scores in OT; U.S. returns to action tomorrow (May 11) against Korea

HERNING, Denmark – Cam Atkinson (Riverside, Conn.) scored in overtime and Alex DeBrincat (Farmington Hills, Mich.) tallied two assists as the 2018 U.S. Men's National Team earned a 3-2 overtime victory over Latvia in preliminary round play of the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship.

“Give credit to Latvia for a hard-fought game,” said Jeff Blashill, head coach of the 2018 U.S. Men’s National Team. “Every team in this tournament is dangerous and it's nice to walk out of here with a win over a well-coached team. We have areas we can get better in and we have group that's capable of doing that as we get set for Korea tomorrow."

The United States (2-2-0-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) is back in action tomorrow (May 11) when it faces Korea. Puck drop is set for 8:15 p.m. local time/2:15 p.m. ET live on NHL Network.

Both teams leaned on its special teams play early as a total of four penalties were called in the first 10 minutes of play.

With Latvia down to three men for a pair of too-many-men penalties, Team USA continued to press for the game’s opening goal before Chris Kreider (Boxford, Mass.) converted at the 10:39 mark just as Latvia’s first penalty expired. Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) started the play by dishing the puck to DeBrincat, at the top left circle for a shot that bounced in the crease for Kreider to fire home.

Latvia got on the board with 2:08 left in the period when a Uvis Balinskis shot from the point deflected off of a U.S. stick and inside the left post to bring the score to 1-1.

Less than a minute after, Atkinson nearly put the U.S. back up when Larkin sent him in on a breakaway chance that was stopped by the right pad of Elvis Merzlikins and ultimately saw the game enter its first intermission tied. 

Just 1:38 into the middle frame, U.S. netminder Keith Kinkaid (Farmingville, N.Y.) stood tall with a breakaway save on Teodors Blugers to keep the score knotted. Two minutes later, Andris Dzerins put home a power play rebound attempt to gain a 2-1 advantage.

Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) evened the score with 2:22 remaining in the period when he took a pass from DeBrincat and fired a rolling puck from the right hash mark through the legs of Merzlikins. Also earning an assist on the play was captain Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y.). 

A scoreless third period forced a five-minute three-on-three overtime that saw Atkinson end the game with a power-play goal just 1:23 into the extra frame. Kane started the play with the puck at the left faceoff dot before dishing the puck across the high slot to Johnny Gaudreau (Salem, N.J.) who one-timed a pass to the right post where Atkinson kicked the puck to himself and lifted a wrist shot over Merzlikins’ pad to account for the 3-2 overtime final.

NOTES:  Alex DeBrincat (Farmington Hills, Mich.) was named U.S. Player of the Game with two assists … For complete game stats, click hereCharlie McAvoy (Long Beach, N.Y./Boston Bruins) was added to the 2018 U.S. Men’s National Team roster today. That press release can be found here, while the current 24-player roster, click here ... Jeff Blashill (Detroit Red Wings) is serving as head coach for the second straight year ... The staff and players of the 2018 U.S. Men's National Team are selected by Bill Zito (Columbus Blue Jackets), general manager of the 2018 U.S. Men's National Team along with members of the U.S. Men's National Team Advisory Group that includes Stan Bowman (Chicago Blackhawks), David Poile (Nashville Predators), Ray Shero (New Jersey Devils), Dale Tallon (Florida Panthers), and Jeff Gorton (New York Rangers) ... For complete coverage of the U.S. Men’s National Team, visit teamusa.usahockey.com/2018mensworlds … The official online home of the 2018 IIHF Men’s World Championship is 2018.IIHFWorlds.com … The U.S. has finished in the top four of the world championship in three of the last five years ... USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Gavin Regan (Potsdam, N.Y.), has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams ... NHL Network is the exclusive U.S. rightsholder for the tournament. 

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U.S. Schedule

Date Opponent Round Time (Local/ET)/Result Location
Tues., May 1 Denmark Exhibition W, 3-2 KVIK Hockey Arena
Herning, Denmark
Fri., May 4 Canada Preliminary W, 5-4 (SO) Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Sat., May 5 Denmark Preliminary W, 4-0 Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Mon., May 7 Germany Preliminary W, 3-0 Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Thurs., May 10 Latvia Preliminary W, 3-2 (OT) Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Fri., May 11 Korea Preliminary W, 13-1 Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Sun., May 13 Norway Preliminary W, 9-3 Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Tues., May 15 Finland Preliminary L, 2-6 Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Thurs., May 17 Czech Republic Quarterfinals W, 3-2 Jyske Bank Boxen
Herning, Denmark
Sat., May 19 Sweden Semifinals L, 0-6 Royal Arena
Copenhagen, Denmark
Sun., May 20 Canada Bronze-Medal Game W, 4-1 Royal Arena
Copenhagen, Denmark

2018 Men's Worlds News