U.S. Clinches Top Seed in Group a at Men\\"s Worlds

U.S. National Team

May 16, 2017 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - U.S. National Team

News Release

COLOGNE, Germany -- Kevin Hayes (Dorchester, Mass./New York Rangers/Boston College) scored two goals and Anders Lee (Edina, Minn./NY Islanders/University of Notre Dame) netted the game-winner with 7:03 to play as the U.S. Men's National Team erased three one-goal deficits to claim a 5-3 victory over Russia for its sixth straight win here at the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship at LANXESS Arena.

With the win, Team USA (6-0-0-1; W-OTW-OTL-L) clinched the top seed in Group A and will play the fourth-place team from Group B in Thursday's (May 18) quarterfinals. Team USA's opponent, game time and television information will be available following the final preliminary round games tonight.

"I thought it was a really good hockey game," said Jeff Blashill, head coach of the 2017 U.S. Men's National Team. "The crowd was unreal. The Russian fans are great and it made for an awesome atmosphere. I'm really impressed with our group. They're a selfless bunch and I thought we took a step forward tonight."

The U.S. nearly took the lead just over a minute into the contest when a wrist shot from the slot by Nick Bjugstad (Minneapolis, Minn./Florida Panthers/University of Minnesota) just caught the blocker of Andrei Vasilevski and deflected off the right post.

Team USA continued to generate scoring chances early in the game, earning a 9-1 advantage in shots along with a pair of power plays in the first 10 minutes, but was unable to net the go-ahead goal.

Russia opened the scoring on a breakaway goal by Nikita Gusev with 7:31 remaining in the first period.

The U.S. spent most of the final five minutes of the frame on the power play after a pair of Russian stick infractions, including a high-sticking double minor, but entered the first intermission trailing by a goal despite outshooting Russia, 16-3.

Team USA entered the second stanza with 1:12 left on the man-advantage, and evened the score on a power-play marker by Hayes exactly one minute into the frame. Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn./New York Islanders/University of North Dakota) collected a rebound and slid a backhand pass across the crease for Hayes, who buried the puck past a sprawling Vasilevski for his first goal of the tournament.

Anton Belov beat Jimmy Howard (Syracuse, N.Y./Detroit Red Wings/University of Maine) with a slap shot from the top of the right circle to give Russia a 2-1 lead 7:33 into the middle period.

Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich./Detroit Red Wings/University of Michigan) tied the game for Team USA with 7:42 remaining in the second period with a wrist shot from the slot that beat Vasilevski blocker side.

Russia regained a one-goal lead when Gusev finished a three-on-one rush on the power play for his second goal of the game with 3:45 left in the second stanza.

Just 1:28 later, the U.S. netted the equalizer for the third time in the period on Hayes' second goal of the contest. Johnny Gaudreau (Salem, N.J./Calgary Flames/Boston College) fed a centering pass in front of the net for Hayes, who collected the puck and beat Vasilevski glove side to knot the score after two periods.

Lee scored the game-winner with 7:03 remaining when he tipped home a feed in front of the net by Gaudreau on the power play. The tally marked Lee's fifth goal on the man-advantage at the world championship.

Howard made a shorthanded breakaway save on Artemi Panarin with just over six minutes left to preserve the lead, while Nelson sealed the victory with an empty-net marker with 22 seconds remaining.

With 16 saves, Howard earned his fourth victory of the tournament.

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