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USA Beats Slovenia, 3-1

05/11/2015, 2:15am EDT
By USA Hockey

Victory Ensures Spot in Quarterfinals

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn./N.Y. Islanders) scored twice and added one assist, and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce, Mich.) made 21 saves as the U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Slovenia, 3-1, here today at the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship.

The United States, which now boasts a 5-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record, can clinch the No. 1 seed in Group B with a victory Tuesday (May 12) against Slovakia.

"It's nice to win and we've put ourselves in a good position," said Todd Richards, head coach of the 2015 U.S. Men's National Team. "As we head toward our final preliminary round game and into the quarterfinals, we need to get back to the way we were playing in the first few games. This team has the potential to do great things, that I truly believe."

A pair of goals by Nelson in the opening period helped the U.S. build a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. Nelson’s first tally came 4:17 in after a dominant shift in the offensive zone. Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass./Boston University) started the play when he walked the puck out from behind the net and through the right circle before dumping it back behind the net to Mike Reilly (Chanhassen, Minn./University of Minnesota). Reilly faked a move around the cage, turned and hit Nelson at the doorstep for the tap-in goal.

Nelson connected for his sixth of the tournament 12 minutes later on a power play. Justin Faulk (South St. Paul, Minn./Carolina Hurricanes) sent a one-timer towards the net that was tipped by Trevor Lewis (Salt Lake City, Utah/L.A. Kings) into Slovenian goaltender Robert Kristan’s pads. Kristan couldn’t control the rebound and the puck bounced right to Nelson, who scooped it into the back of the net.

Slovenia pulled to within one after scoring the lone goal of the middle period, but Eichel notched his first goal of the event 69 seconds into the third to help Team USA regain a two-goal advantage.

Following two shot attempts off an odd-man rush, Eichel skated to the front of the net and redirected a Nelson wrister into the top corner of the net. Seth Jones (Plano, Texas/Nashville Predators) was credited with the secondary assist on the play.

The U.S. Men’s National Team closes its preliminary-round schedule Tuesday (May 12) when it battles Slovakia at 4:15 p.m. local time (10:15 a.m. ET). The contest will be broadcast live on NBCSN and can also be seen online via NBC Sports Live Extra.

NOTES: The U.S. secured a spot in the quarterfinals with today's win ... Brock Nelson leads the men's world championship with six goals, including his two today. He was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... Trevor Lewis had three assists today and now has 2-5--7 in the world championship ... Connor Hellebuyck is 4-0 and leads all netminders in the world championship with a 0.75 goals against average and .969 save percentage ... Charlie Coyle joined Team USA late last night and played in today's game ... Steve Moses has missed the last three games with a lower body injury and continues to be listed as day-to-day.

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic -- Team USA skated briefly this morning here in preparation for its game today against Slovenia in preliminary round play at the 2015 IIHF Men's World Championship. Opening faceoff is set for 4:15 p.m. (10:15 a.m. ET) at CEZ Arena. The game will be streamed live in the U.S. on NBC Sports Live Extra and televised on a same-day delayed basis by NBCSN at 3 p.m. ET.

A win today would assure Team USA a spot in the quarterfinal round. The U.S. and Slovenia have played only three previous times, with Team USA winning all three contests.

Connor Hellebuyck will get the start in goal for the U.S. He's coming off a 21-save shutout of Denmark in Team USA's 1-0 victory on Friday. Alex Lyon, who played at Yale University this year, will dress for the first time in the world championship and serve as Hellebuyck's back-up.

Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild arrived in Ostrava last night and will be in the lineup today. Steve Moses continues to be out with a lower body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

2015 Results

Date Opponent Time (Local/ET)/Result
April 28 Austria (ex.) W, 4-1
May 1 Finland W, 5-1
May 2 Norway W, 2-1
May 4 Russia W, 4-2
May 7 Belarus L, 2-5
May 8 Denmark W, 1-0
May 10 Slovenia W, 3-1
May 12 Slovakia W, 5-4 OT
May 14 Switzerland
W, 3-1
May 16 Russia
L, 0-4
May 17 Czech Republic
Bronze Medal Game
W, 3-0

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