HELSINKI, Finland - Five different players tallied goals and 12 players recorded points to help the U.S. Men's National Team to an important 5-3 victory over Belarus this afternoon in preliminary round play at the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship at Hartwell Arena. With the victory, Team USA improves to 2-1-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) and currently stands in third place in Group H.
"We came out and got a quick lead and I thought that was important," said Scott Gordon, head coach of Team USA. "And then in the third period we really controlled the play. It was a good win and with a quick turnaround. We'll get some rest tonight and be ready to go again tomorrow."
Justin Abdelkader (Muskegon, Mich./Detroit Red Wings/Michigan State University) scored his first goal of the tournament off a sharp-angle deflection at 1:39 of the first period to give the U.S. an early lead. Cam Atkinson (Riverside, Conn./Columbus Blue Jackets/Boston College) followed suit with a snap shot from the high slot at 6:31 to double Team USA's advantage. Belarus got on the board at 16:15 and Team USA carried a 2-1 lead after the opening 20 minutes.
Belarus tallied a power-play goal at 2:50 of the second period to even the game at 2-2. Nate Thompson (Anchorage, Alaska/Tampa Bay Lightning) lit the lamp with a sharp angle shot with 1:39 remaining in the second period to give the U.S. a 3-2 edge at the end of 40 minutes.
Bobby Ryan (Cherry Hill, N.J./Anaheim Ducks) tipped in a blast from the point at 12:10 of the third period to stake the U.S. to a 4-2 advantage and just over two minutes later, Paul Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./Colorado Avalanche/University of Denver) charged into the offensive zone and made a slick move before tucking the puck through the legs of Belarus netminder Vitali Koval at 15:34. Belarus rounded out the scoring with 10 seconds remaining in regulation while holding a 6-on-3 advantage thanks to two U.S. penalties and an extra attacker.
The U.S. Men's National Team resumes Group H play on Friday (May 11) against Kazakhstan. Faceoff is 4:15 p.m. local time (9:15 a.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 Abdelkader, who had a goal and an assist, was named Team USA's Player of the Game ... Team USA went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Belarus was 2-for-6. The power-play markers by Belarus were the first the U.S. surrendered in the tournament ... 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 ... Twenty of the 23 members of Team USA played U.S. college hockey ... Six of the 23 players announced are products of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, including Joey Crabb, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler, Jimmy Howard, Jack Johnson and Kyle Palmieri ... Fourteen NHL teams are represented on the roster. The Anaheim Ducks lead the way with three, while the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning have two players apiece ... 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 2- 1- 2- 5
BLR 1- 1- 1- 3
First Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Abdelkader (Brown, Petry), 1:39; 2, USA, Atkinson (Abdelkader), 6:31; 3, BLR, Kalyuzhny (Korobov, Grabovski), 16:15. Penalties: BLR, Denisov (holding), 2:21; USA, Johnson (checking to the head, misconduct), 18:40.
Second Period - Scoring: 4, BLR, Ugarov (Grabovski, Kovyrshin), 2:50 (pp); 5, USA, Thompson (Dwyer), 18:21. Penalties: USA, Palmieri (interference), 1:00; BLR, Mikhalyov (hooking), 4:58;
Third Period - Scoring: 6, USA, Ryan (Pacioretty, Fowler), 12:10; 7, USA, Stastny (Pacioretty, Johnson), 15:34, 8, BLR, Kovyrshin (Grabovski, Zalyuzhny), 19:50 (5x3 pp). Penalties: BLR, Kitarov (checking from behind, misconduct), 0:54; USA, Crabb (interference), 4:54; USA, Slater (delay of game), 6:21; USA, Petry (hooking), 17:59; USA, Johnson, (delay of game), 19:19.
Shots by Period 1 2 3 Total
USA 14 11 11 36
BLR 4 13 9 26
Goaltenders (SH/SV) 1 2 3 Total
USA, Howard, 60:00 4/3 13/12 9/8 26/23
BLR, Mezin, 9:50 8/6 -- -- 8/6
BLR, Koval, 49:39 6/6 11/10 11/9 28/25