MINSK, Belarus – Tyler Johnson (Spokane, Wash./Tampa Bay Lightning) scored twice, Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn./University of North Dakota/N.Y. Islanders) had a single goal and goaltender Tim Thomas (Flint, Mich./University of Vermont/Dallas Stars) made 29 saves, but the U.S. Men's National Team fell to the Czech Republic, 4-3, in the quarterfinals of the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship here today.
“It was a great hockey game,” said Peter Laviolette, head coach of the 2014 U.S. Men’s National Team. “The first period was terrific hockey both ways. We found ourselves in a little bit of trouble in the second period. I was really proud of our guys for continuing to fight and push the pace in the third period. It’s a disappointing ending for our team, but I’m proud of our effort and the way the guys represented their country here.”
Nelson cashed in on a power play 6:54 into the game to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. Off a faceoff in the Team USA offensive zone, Seth Jones (Plano, Texas/Nashville Predators) handed the puck over to Peter Mueller (Bloomington, Minn.) in the high slot. Mueller blasted it towards the net, and Nelson managed to tip it out of the air and past Czech goaltender Alexander Salak.
The Czech Republic found a way to knot the score at 9:25 of the opening period before scoring a pair of power-play goals in a 1:15 span to grab a 3-1 lead by the midway point of the second stanza.
Another Czech goal with the man advantage with 3:41 left in the middle period made it 4-1 entering the third.
Team USA closed the gap to 4-3 late in the third after Johnson scored twice in 13 seconds. His first goal came on a one-timer from the right side. Off the ensuing faceoff, Johnson chipped a Craig Smith (Madison, Wis./University of Wisconsin/Nashville Predators) pass high over the goalie.
The United States pressured for the tying goal in the final seconds, but couldn't manage to force overtime.
The U.S. Men’s National Team ends the IIHF Men’s World Championship with a 4-1-0-3 record.