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U.S. Men's National Team Downed By Czech Republic in Men's Worlds Quarterfinal

05/22/2014, 11:30am EDT
By USAHockey.com

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.

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BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Jaromir Jagr scored three times to lead defending world champion Czech Republic to a 4-0 victory over the U.S. Men's National Team here today in quarterfinal action of the International Ice Hockey Federation World Men's Championship. Team USA finishes the tournament with a 3-0-1-3 (W-OTW-OTL-L) overall record.

"I thought we played hard," said Scott Gordon, head coach of Team USA. "We had our chances, particularly in the first two periods, but just couldn't get one in the back of the net. This was a terrific group of young players that I really enjoyed coaching."

It was a fast-paced first period with both teams having scoring chances. The U.S. nearly scored just over three minutes into the game when a puck slid behind Czech goaltender Ondrej Pavelec and careened off the post. Perhaps the best U.S. scoring chance in the period came for Craig Smith(Madison, Wis./University of Wisconsin) on the power play from the slot off a nice feed fromDerek Stepan(Hastings, Minn./New York Rangers/University of Wisconsin), but Pavelec was equal to the test. The Czechs scored with just 1:15 left in the opening period when Jagr fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that beat Ty Conklin (Anchorage, Alaska/St. Louis Blues/University of New Hampshire).

The U.S. started the second period on the power play and had a brief two-man advantage, but could not convert. The Czech Republic, however, did convert on its two-man advantage at 4:47 when Jagr fired a one-timer from the right faceoff circle that hit a piece of Mike Komisarek's (Islip Terrace, N.Y./Toronto Maple Leafs/University of Michigan) stick and deflected past Conklin.

Just past the midway point of the final frame, Tomas Plekanec put the Czech Republic ahead by a 3-0 count when he fired a slap shot from the left faceoff circle that beat Conklin high on the glove side. Jagr notched his third goal of the game after a give-and-go with Plekanec that finished off the scoring at 16:25 while on the power play.

Conklin made 35 saves in the loss for Team USA, while Pavelec stopped all 29 shots for the Czech Republic in the win.

NOTES: Mike Komisarek was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... Derek Stepanfinished as Team USA's point leader with 2-5--7 in seven games. Craig Smith was second in points with 3-3--6 and paced Team USA in goals ... Team USA's three best players of the tournament were Ryan Shannon, Derek Stepan and Craig Smith... For Team USA coverage from Slovakia at the IIHF World Men's Championship, including game blogs and postgame video, visit the U.S. Men's National Team blog... The 2011 U.S. Men’s National Team was under the direction of the U.S. Men’s National Team Advisory Group, including NHL general managers Brian Burke(Toronto), Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia), Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles), David Poile(Nashville), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) and Dale Tallon (Florida); Atlanta Thrashers presidentDon Waddell; and Jim Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director for hockey operations. Paul Fenton, assistant general manager of the Nashville Predators and general manager of the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals, served as associate general manager of the 2011 U.S. Men's National Team ... Scott Gordon was head coach for the second consecutive year after leading the 2010 U.S. Men's National Team, while Greg Cronin, Phil Housley and Barry Smith served as assistants ... USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Tony Rossi, vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams ... Versus provided television coverage of all Team USA's game at the 2011 IIHF World Men's Championship and will be broadcasting the semifinal round and gold-medal game as well. 

GAME SUMMARY

Scoring By Period

CZE 1- 1- 2- 4
USA 0- 0- 0- 0

First Period - Scoring: 1, CZE, Jagr (Cervenka), 18:45. Penalties: USA, Gaustad (interference), 5:58; CZE, Krajicek (interference), 10:12; CZE, Caslava (high-sticking), 20:00.

Second Period - Scoring: 2, CZE, Jagr (Plekanec, Rachunek), 4:47 (5x3 pp). Penalties: CZE, Rachunek (slashing), 1:48; USA, Wheeler (slashing), 3:01; USA, van Riemsdyk (elbowing), 3:20.

Third Period - Scoring: 3, CZE, Plekanec (Frolik, Zidlicky), 10:33; 4, CZE, Jagr (Plekanec), 16:25 (pp). Penalties: USA, Stuart (slashing), 10:56; USA, Smith (slashing), 15:28.

Shots by Period 1 2 3 Total
CZE 12 13 14 39
USA 12 11 6 29
         
Goaltenders (SH/SV) 1 2 3 Total
CZE, Pavelec, 60:00 12-12 11-11 6-6 29-29
USA, Conklin, 60:00 12-11 13-12 14-12 39-35

Power Play: CZE 2-5; USA 0-3
Penalties: CZE 3-6; USA 5-10

Referees: Darcy Burchell, Brent Reiber
Linesmen: Chris Carlson, Kiel Murchison
Attendance: 9,311

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