HELSINKI, Finland – The U.S. Men's National Team used a pair of power play goals, solid goaltending from Ben Bishop (Denver, Colo./Tampa Bay Lightning/Univ. of Maine), including stops on two breakaways, and a dominant third period on the way to a 4-1 win in preliminary-round play vs. Latvia here tonight at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship.
"It was a tough game," said Joe Sacco, head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. "I give our guys credit. They battled hard. We had solid goaltending and got better as the game wore on. It's difficult to win in this tournament. We've been able to come away with victories in our first two games and we'll look forward to a day off before we face Russia on Tuesday."
Bishop stopped all five shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes, including a breakaway with just less than 5:00 left in the stanza. The U.S. had a couple of late scoring chances by Bobby Butler (Marlborough, Mass./Nashville Predators/Univ. of New Hampshire) and Drew LeBlanc (Hermantown, Minn./Chicago Blackhawks/St. Cloud State Univ.), but was unable to convert.
Latvia claimed a 1-0 lead 1:11 into the second stanza, tallying just :01 after its power play opportunity expired. The U.S. tied the game a minute later thanks to Tim Stapleton (La Grange, Ill./Dynamo Minsk/Univ. of Minnesota Duluth). Bobby Butler got a shot to the net and followed his rebound, knocking the puck to Stapleton who scored the equalizer.
David Moss (Livonia, Mich./Phoenix Coyotes/Univ. of Michigan) gave Team USA a 2-1 lead just more than 2:00 later on the power play. Paul Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./Colorado Avalanche/Univ. of Denver) found Moss parked at the right post in front of Latvian goaltender Edgars Masalskis. Moss pulled the puck across his body and tucked it inside the far post for the score.
Latvia nearly evened the game early in the third period, however, Bishop stopped Martins Cupulis' breakaway attempt. The U.S. extended its lead to 3-1 at 10:55 when Bobby Butler struck on the power play. Erik Johnson (Bloomington, Minn./Colorado Avalanche/Univ. of Minnesota) fed Stapleton in the high slot and Stastny wristed it hard toward the net before Butler deposited the rebound.
Matt Hunwick (Warren, Mich./Colorado Avalanche/Univ. of Michigan) provided an insurance goal less than 90 seconds later when he took a pass from Stastny at the left point and blasted a slapshot to the near side to beat Masalskis at 12:21.
Bishop made 19 saves to collect the win for Team USA. Masalskis stopped 22 shots for Latvia in the loss.
Team USA's will face Russia on Tuesday (May 7) with faceoff set for 8:15 p.m. local time (1:15 p.m. EDT). The game will be shown live on the NBC Sports Network and NBC Sports Live Extra will stream the game live online in the United States.
Scoring By Period
First Period – Scoring: None. Penalties: LAT, Pujacs (elbowing), 5:13; USA, Smith (delaying the game), 9:29; USA, Stastny (hooking), 19:09.
Second Period – Scoring: 1, LAT, Kulda (Sprukts, Darzins), 1:11; 2, USA, Stapleton (B. Butler), 2:11; 3, USA, Moss (Stastny, Trouba), 4:21 (pp). Penalties: LAT, Stals (slashing), 3:10; USA, McBain (slashing), 5:16; LAT, Sprukts (interference); 6:05; USA, Faulk (holding), 12:11; LAT, Jekimovs (interference), 14:42; USA, Moss (high-sticking), 14:56.
Third Period – Scoring: 4, USA, B. Butler (Stapleton, Johnson), 10:55 (pp); 5, USA, Hunwick (Stastny, Smith), 12:21. Penalties: LAT, Sirokovs (elbowing), 10:02; LAT, Jass (high-sticking), 15:14; LAT, Stals (holding), 19:53.
Shots by Period
|USA, Bishop, W, 60:00||5/5||12/11||3/3||20/19|
|LAT, Masalskis, L, 60:00||4/4||8/6||14/12||26/22|
Power Play: USA 2-7; LAT, 0-6
Penalties: USA, 6-12; LAT, 7-14