It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.
That’s what the U.S. showed Thursday in its quarterfinal against Switzerland at the World Hockey Championships — after spotting the Swiss a 1-0 lead, the Americans rallied to score three unanswered for a 3-1 win, advancing to the semifinals for the second time in three years.
Charlie Coyle scored the game-winning tally midway through the second period, just a minute after San Jose forward Ben Smith had scored to even the game at 1-1. Smith’s goal canceled out Roman Josi’s highlight-reel marker that put Switzerland on the board in the first period, and Jake Gardiner scored the insurance tally with less than 10 minutes remaining.
For the U.S., Connor Hellebuyck continued his strong play this tournament, stopping 21 of 22 shots for a.954 save percentage. Colorado netminder Reto Berra made 21 saves for Switzerland.
As mentioned above, the win moves the U.S. into the semis, where it’ll face the winner of the Russia-Sweden game (to be played later today).
Dream start for the Swiss in today’s World Hockey Championship quarterfinal — not so much for Team USA.
Nashville defenseman Roman Josi opened the scoring 13 minutes into the first period on Thursday, firing home this unassisted marker after dancing through the U.S. defense:
Despite that start, the Americans battled back midway through the second period with two goals in less than a minute — from Ben Smith and Charlie Coyle — to take a 2-1 lead.
Jack Eichel, the Boston University star projected to go No. 2 at this year’s NHL Draft, scored with 30 seconds left in OT on Tuesday to give the U.S. a 5-4 win over Slovakia at the World Hockey Championships, clinching top spot in Group B in the process.
Eichel’s heroics came after a wild 60 minutes of regulation in which the U.S. built up a commanding 3-0 lead, surrendered it, then fell behind before evening things up late in the second period — a period that featured six goals all told.
The Slovaks were paced by L.A. Kings forward Marian Gaborik, who finished with a team-high two points (1G, 1A) in just under 18 minutes of ice time. Ex-NHLer Milan Bartovic also scored for Slovakia, along with Vladimir Dravecky and Adam Janosik.
For the Americans, Eichel and New York Islanders forward Anders Lee each finished with a goal, while Seth Jones, Ben Smith and Charlie Coyle all netted single markers.
With the win, the U.S. will now take on Switzerland in the tournament quarterfinals. Slovakia, which was already eliminated from medal contention, finished fifth in Group B but registered just one win at the Worlds, a 2-1 victory over Belarus.
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