HELSINKI, Finland - Five different players scored and Jimmy Howard (Syracuse, N.Y./Detroit Red Wings/University of Maine) made 18 saves, as the U.S. Men's National Team blanked defending champion and tournament co-host Finland, 5-0, in preliminary-round play this afternoon at the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship at Hartwall Arena.
Team USA won for the fifth time in six games and has secured a spot in the tournament quarterfinals for the eighth time in the last nine years, regardless of the outcome of its final preliminary-round game Tuesday (May 15) against Switzerland.
"That's as good of a game as we've played in the four years I've been coming over here," said Scott Gordon, who is the head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team for the third straight year and was an assistant for the 2009 squad. "We talked before the game about how important this game was and that every player had to contribute in some way for us to be successful. Our guys can be proud of beating a very good Finland team."
Max Pacioretty (New Canaan, Conn./Montreal Canadiens/University of Michigan) got the only goal of the first period and it came with just 3:41 remaining as he battled in front of the crease and was able to put a bouncing puck past Finland netminder Kari Lehtonen. Pacioretty has tallied at least one point in all six games and leads Team USA with 10 points (2-8).
The U.S. scored two goals in the final five minutes of the second period and led 3-0 after 40 minutes. Kyle Palmieri (Smithtown, N.Y./Anaheim Ducks/University of Notre Dame) drove to the net and banged home a rebound for his first goal of the tournament at 15:33, before Justin Faulk (South St. Paul/Carolina Hurricanes/University of Minnesota Duluth) scored his fourth goal of the tournament off a power-play blast from the left circle at 17:56.
Team USA tacked on two more goals in the third period to secure the victory. First, Chris Butler (St. Louis, Mo./Calgary Flames/University of Denver) recorded his first goal of the tournament with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle at 2:12. Bobby Ryan (Cherry Hill, N.J./Anaheim Ducks) scored the final goal of the game at 4:08 with a shot in tight that found its way into the back of the net.
The U.S. Men's National Team will play its final Group H preliminary-round game against Switzerland on Tuesday (May 15). Faceoff is 8:15 p.m. local time (1:15 p.m. EDT). The game will be broadcast live in the U.S. on NBC Sports Network and scoring updates will be available on Twitter. Use the hashtag #2012MWC to join the conversation surrounding the tournament.
NOTES: Justin Faulk was named Team USA's Player of the Game. Faulk leads Team USA in goals with four ... Three U.S. players recorded multiple points against Finland, including Max Pacioretty (1-1), Chris Butler (1-1) and Cam Atkinson (0-2) ... Team USA's shutout was it first in world championship play since blanking France in the relegation round of the 2010 IIHF Men's World Championship. The shutout was the fourth all-time vs. Finland in the world championship, but first since 1967 ... Team USA went 1-for-7 on the power play, while Finland was 0-for-2 ... Defenseman Jack Johnson is the captain of Team USA. The alternate captains are forwards Jim Slater and Nate Thompson ... For Team USA's updated roster, click here ... Scott Gordon is the head coach of the 2012 U.S. Men's National Team. Greg Cronin and David Quinn are serving as assistant coaches ... The 2012 U.S. Men's National Team is under the direction of the U.S. Men's National Team Advisory Group, led by Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. Other members include NHL general managers Stan Bowman (Chicago), Brian Burke (Toronto), Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia), Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles), David Poile (Nashville), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) and Dale Tallon (Florida) and Pittsburgh Penguins pro scout Don Waddell ... USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Tony Rossi, vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams ... Sixteen teams will compete at 2012 IIHF Men's World Championship. There are two groups of eight with one group playing in Helsinki, Finland, and the other playing in Stockholm, Sweden. The semifinals and medal games will be conducted in Helsinski ... NBC Sports is televising all Team USA games in the 2012 IIHF Men's World Championship. The complete television schedule is available here.
Scoring By Period
USA 1- 2- 2- 5
FIN 0- 0- 0- 0
First Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Pacioretty, unassisted, 16:19. Penalties: FIN, Niskala (slashing), 13:27; USA, Palmieri (cross-checking), 16:11; FIN, Koivu (high-sticking), 16:11; USA, Fowler (holding), 17:29; FIN, Jokinen (slashing), 19:18.
Second Period - Scoring: 2, USA, Palmieri (Atkinson, Butler), 15:33; 3, USA, Faulk (Goligoski, Pacioretty), 17:56 (pp). Penalties: USA, Goligoski (interference), 2:40; FIN, Joensuu (hooking), 6:00; FIN, Niskala (delay of game), 10:45; FIN, Granlund (slashing), 17:24.
Third Period - Scoring: 4, USA, Butler (Petry, Atkinson), 2:12; 5, USA, Ryan (Smith), 4:08. Penalties: FIN, Salmela (boarding, game misconduct), 5:03; FIN, Joensuu (interference), 15:43.
USA 10 11 10 31
FIN 4 6 8 18
Goaltenders (SH/SV) 1 2 3 Total
USA, Howard, 60:00 4/4 6/6 8/8 18/18
FIN, Lehtonen, 52:24 10/9 11/9 9/7 30/25
FIN, Vehanen, 7:36 -- -- 1/1 1/1
Power Play: USA 1-7; FIN 0-2
Penalties: USA 3-6; FIN 9-39