It wasn’t pretty by any means, but Team USA was able to overcome a frustrating and furious comeback from Kazakhstan to take their preliminary round match-up 3-2 in overtime at the World Championships in Finland.
The Americans headed into the third period tied up 1-1 before J.T. Brown scored early in the period to give Team USA a 2-1 lead. That lead would hold up until the 4:06 mark of the period when Talgat Zhailauov streaked in on backup goalie Richard Bachman, making a scheduled start in place of Jimmy Howard, and knotting the game up 2-2.
By going to overtime, the best either team could do is take two points in the standings instead of three for a regulation win. In overtime, Justin Faulk would take a great backhand feed from Max Pacioretty with 22 seconds left in the extra session to end it. Kazakh goalie Vitali Kolesnik (formerly of the Colorado Avalanche) would play well in defeat stopping 47 shots. Bachman finished with 17 saves.
With two points, Team USA holds on to third place, just two points behind Finland who dropped a 5-3 game to Canada this afternoon. With the win, Canada now jumps into first place, one point ahead of the Finns. Slovakia and Switzerland can pull to within one point of the Americans tomorrow with regulation wins.
Team USA’s next game is Sunday at 9:15 a.m. ET on NBCSN against Finland. A win would help Team USA move up in the standings and help them have a shot at clinching a spot in the quarterfinals.