The United States Men’s Hockey Team continued their best start to the IIHF World Hockey Championship since 1997 with a very surprising 4-2 win over Russia. The win puts the United States in a great position to win their Group having beaten hockey powers Russia and Finland.
A group win would give the United States a matchup with the 4th placed nation out of Group A in the Quarterfinals on May 14th. As of our publishing time, that would mean the United States would be matching up with Switzerland.
The United States would get the scoring started in the first period as Trevor Lewis floated home a rebound over the shoulder of Russian goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. The play started off a faceoff with Jack Eichel winning the puck to Seth Jones along the boards. Jones fired a shot through traffic that caught Bobrovsky high. The puck fell to Lewis at the edge of the crease and he put the rebound attempt past the Russian goaltender for a 1-0 United States lead.
Russia would tie the game early in the second period after a great goalmouth play from SKA Saint Petersburg forward Artemi Panarin. Panarin controlled the puck at the top of the crease looking for an opening to stuff the puck home. Instead of forcing the tight-angle shot which was well covered by American goaltender Jack Campbell, he dished the puck back to the charging Anton Belov who did not missed his wide-open shot from the high slot.
The Americans would regain the lead just 2:42 later as they took advantage of some poor Russian decision-making. Yevgeny Medvedev made a critical mistake earning a delay of game penalty while the Russians were already killing a tripping call on Maxim Chudinov. Russia did well to kill the first 1:21 of the 5-on-3 but Torey Krug scored on a wrist-shot from the right faceoff circle over the should of Bobrovsky to give the Americans a 2-1 lead.
The goal was attributed to Krug but it would not have been possible without the big hustle play from Seth Jones just a few seconds earlier. It had looked as though the puck was about to clear out of the Russian defensive zone when Justin Faulk’s one-timer sailed wide of the net but Jones hustled to keep the puck in the zone. Krug would be the beneficiary of the hustle play as he would score just a few seconds later.
Mark Arcobello would net the game-winning goal with just over eight minutes remaining after a great defensive play from Harvard University forward Jimmy Vesey in the neutral zone. Vesey tied up the puck along the boards allowing Arcobello to gather just outside of the Russian zone. Arcobello brought the puck in 2-on-1 with Jeremy Morin on his right, he fired a low shot past Bobrovsky to give the United States a 3-1 lead.
Russia pulled one back late as Sergei Plotnikov found himself at the right place at the right time to put home a Dmitri Kulikov rebound to bring the game back to 3-2.
The Russians pulled Bobrovsky in the final minute for the extra attacker. They would get some great looks at goal but Jack Campbell was equal to the task. Finally, Brock Nelson sealed the game with an empty net goal with nine seconds remaining to give the United States the three points and the big win.
It was a very big game for Jack Campbell who had not played in the previous two games against Finland and Norway. Campbell would stop 15 of the 17 Russian shots on the evening for the win.
The Americans have gotten some great play from players like Brock Nelson, Trevor Lewis, and Dan Sexton but they are being led by the top defensive pairing of Justin Faulk and Torey Krug. Faulk and Krug have combined for a goal and four assists but they each have a plus-minus rating of plus-6. They are tied for the top spot in that category.
The United States will have two days to rest before their next group game which will be against Belarus on Thursday morning at 10:15 am ET.