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U.S. Men's National Team Skates Past Switzerland, 3-2

05/10/2014, 7:00pm EDT
By USAHockey.com

MINSK, Belarus – Peter Mueller (Bloomington, Minn.), Craig Smith (Madison, Wis./University of Wisconsin/Nashville Predators) and Tyler Johnson (Spokane, Wash./Tampa Bay Lightning) scored to help the U.S. Men's National Team to a 3-2 victory over Switzerland in its second preliminary-round contest at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship here today.

“We’re really happy with our effort tonight,” said Peter Laviolette, head coach of the 2014 U.S. Men’s National Team. “I think our guys did a terrific job of showing up in the second night of back-to-back games. They didn’t quit and kept playing in the third period. It was a competitive game both ways, there was a great atmosphere in the building and those are the types of games you want to be in.”

Smith and Johnson scored third-period goals to help the U.S. erase a 2-1 Switzerland advantage. Smith evened the score at 1:28 when he tapped home a rebound from the edge of the crease on a power play. Johnson sent a pass into the slot that Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn./University of North Dakota/N.Y. Islanders) pushed towards the net. His try was blocked, but Smith found the loose puck and scored. Then, with 6:45 remaining in the game, Johnson took a pass from Seth Jones (Plano, Texas/Nashville Predators) at the top of the left circle and quickly sent a shot through traffic and past Swiss goaltender Reto Berra to give Team USA a 3-2 lead.

Following a scoreless first period, Switzerland struck first at 1:28 of the second stanza.

Team USA responded when Mueller converted on a breakaway at 6:15 to knot the score at 1-1. Just after a penalty to Mueller ended, Tim Stapleton (La Grange, Ill./University of Minnesota Duluth) made a perfect outlet pass to spring Mueller in on the break. Mueller moved towards the net, slowed and fired a shot through Berra’s legs. Jeff Petry (Ann Arbor, Mich./Michigan State University/Edmonton Oilers) was credited with the second assist on the play.

The Swiss responded with a goal to retake the lead at 9:39 of the middle period and carried the 2-1 edge into the second intermission.

U.S. goaltender Tim Thomas (Flint, Mich./University of Vermont/Dallas Stars) made 27 saves and was named Team USA's "best player" in the postgame ceremony. Berra had 35 saves for Switzerland.

The U.S. Men's National Team (2-0-0-0) will continue play in the IIHF Men's World Championship Monday (May 12) at 1:45 p.m. ET vs. Russia. The game can be watched live on NBC Sports Network.

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