MINSK, Belarus – Seth Jones (Plano, Texas/Nashville Predators) scored twice -- including the game-winning goal in overtime -- and Craig Smith (Madison, Wis./Univ. of Wisconsin/Nashville Predators) and Matt Donovan (Edmond, Okla./Univ. of Denver/N.Y. Islanders) each had a goal to help the U.S. Men’s National Team defeat Kazakhstan, 4-3, in preliminary-round play at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship here today.
At 1:05 of overtime, Jones scored his second of the game when he picked up a loose puck in the slot and sent a perfectly placed shot into the top corner of the net to secure the win for the U.S.
“We’re happy to come out with a win,” said Peter Laviolette, head coach of the 2014 U.S. Men’s National Team. “It was a very tough game for us. Kazakhstan played very well. I thought Tim Thomas was terrific early when then had a lot of chances. I was really proud of our guys for fighting back the entire game and getting stronger. We had to go to overtime, but it’s a win and we’ll take that.”
The teams traded power-play goals late in the first period. Kazakhstan opened the scoring at 14:23 on a backdoor play before Smith knotted the game at 1-1 4:15 later. Off an offensive-zone draw, Jones moved a puck down the wall and it eventually landed on the stick of Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn./Univ. of North Dakota/N.Y. Islanders). Nelson tapped the puck to Smith, who beat Kazakhstan goaltender Alexei Ivanov with his initial shot, but the puck sat in the crease before Smith batted it home.
Kazakhstan regained the lead just 1:21 into the middle frame when it scored off a turnover to make it 2-1, but Jones scored on a power play at 3:44 to bring the U.S. back to even. Following several quality chances that didn’t find the back of the net, Jones corralled the puck at the right point and blasted a shot over Ivanov’s glove.
Donovan gave the U.S. its first lead of the game, 3-2, when he wired a shot past Ivanov on a delayed penalty at 15:02. After Johnny Gaudreau (Carneys Point, N.J./Boston College/Calgary Flames) drew the call, he wheeled around two players and managed to scoop the puck back to Donovan in the left circle.
Kazakhstan knotted the score at 3-3 with 6:50 remaining in the third frame to force overtime, setting the stage for Jones' game-winner.
The U.S. Men's National Team (2-1-0-2) continues preliminary-round action at the IIHF Men's World Championship Sunday (May 18) against Finland. Puck-drop is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. ET and the game will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.