MINSK, Belarus – Jacob Trouba (Rochester, Mich./University of Michigan/Winnipeg Jets) scored twice and Johnny Gaudreau (Carneys Points, N.J./Boston College/Calgary Flames) had a goal and two assists to help the U.S. Men’s National Team past Belarus, 6-1, in its opening game of the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship here today. Goaltender Tim Thomas (Flint, Mich./University of Vermont/Dallas Stars) made 20 saves.
Leading 1-0 late in the second period, Team USA had a three-goal outburst over a 2:43 span to seize command of the game.
"Tonight was a very close game and in the first period it was ultra competitive," said Peter Laviolette, head coach of the 2014 U.S. Men's National Team. "I thought that Belarus played extremely hard and I liked the competitiveness of our guys as well. In the second period, the play was being taken to us and then a few goals went our way. I thought the power play was good tonight."
Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn./University of North Dakota/N.Y. Islanders) gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with a power-play marker 12:22 into the first period. Tyler Johnson (Spokane, Wash./Tampa Bay Lightning) started the scoring play when he took a pass at the top of the right circle, walked in and fed the puck to Craig Smith (Madison, Wis./University of Wisconsin/Nashville Predators) in the slot. Smith redirected the pass towards the net, and Nelson turned and batted it over Belarus goaltender Andrei Mezin’s leg.
The U.S. built a 4-0 lead by 17:42 of the middle frame thanks to a three-goal outburst in less than three minutes. Trouba gave Team USA a 2-0 lead at 14:59 when he one-timed a Danny DeKeyser (Clay Township, Mich./Western Michigan University/Detroit Red Wings) pass from the point just inside the far post. Gaudreau made it 3-0 54 seconds later when he picked up a pass entering the zone, used the Belarus defender as a screen and picked a corner, and Colin McDonald (Wethersfield, Conn./Providence College/N.Y. Islanders) knocked a cross-crease pass into a wide-open net at 17:42 to make it 4-0.
After a late second-period goal by Team Belarus cut the U.S. lead to 4-1, Trouba and Jake Gardiner (Minnetonka, Minn./University of Wisconsin/Toronto Maple Leafs) each notched power-play goals in the third period to give the U.S. a 6-1 victory.
The U.S. Men’s National Team (1-0-0-0) will continue preliminary-round action tomorrow (May 10) against Switzerland. Puck-drop is schedule for 1:45 p.m. ET and can be viewed live on NBC Sports Network.
ALL-TIME vs. BELARUS
Team USA is 4-0-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) against the Belarusians in the IIHF Men’s World Championship. Most recently in 2012, the U.S. won 5-2 in a preliminary round game. Justin Abdelkader tallied a goal and an assist and was named Team USA’s Best Player.
Complete game-by-game history