From USA Hockey:
U.S. Men’s National Team Falls to Sweden, 6-2,
in Final Preliminary Game of 2011 IIHF World Men’s Championship
Fowler & Wheeler Score for Team USA
KOSICE, Slovakia — Cam Fowler (Farmington Hills, Mich./Anaheim Ducks) and Blake Wheeler (Robbinsdale, Minn./Atlanta Thrashers/University of Minnesota) each notched a goal, but the U.S. Men’s National Team fell to Sweden, 6-2, here tonight in its final preliminary-round game of the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Men’s Championship.
Team USA takes a 2-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record into the qualification round, where it will face Canada on Friday (May 6) at 10:15 a.m. EDT.
“Certainly it’s disappointing to lose,” said Scott Gordon, head coach of Team USA. “We had some breakdowns that we hadn’t had in previous games tonight, but part of that is a credit to Sweden. We’ll have a good practice tomorrow and be ready to go against Canada on Friday.”
Sweden netted the game’s first goal with less than three minutes remaining in the first period when Tim Erixon set up Patrik Berglund in the high slot after a turnover in the U.S. zone. But Team USA responded just 1:12 later with a power-play goal from Fowler. Derek Stepan (Hastings, Minn./New York Rangers/University of Wisconsin) threaded a cross-ice pass from right inside the blue line on the left side boards to a streaking Fowler, who tipped the puck in behind Swedish goalie Viktor Fasth.
Just over three minutes into the second period, Sweden took the lead for good when Marcus Kruger banged home a shot into an empty net from in front after U.S. goaltender Al Montoya (Glenview, Ill./New York Islanders/University of Michigan) got tied up behind the net.
Sweden scored two more goals in the middle frame to go up, 4-1. Mattias Sjogren fired a wrist shot past Montoya at the 10:27 mark and Berglund notched his second goal of the game less than five minutes later.
Team USA narrowed the gap 10:29 into the third period, when Craig Smith (Madison, Wis./University of Wisconsin) forced a turnover in the neutral zone. He then sent a quick feed to Wheeler just inside the blue line, who backhanded a shot past Fasth to pull the U.S. within two goals. Sweden, however, notched two more goals in the last four minutes, including one on the power play, for the 6-2 victory.
Montoya made 24 saves for Team USA in the loss, while Fasth stopped 30 shots in the win for Sweden.
The U.S. Men’s National Team will next face Canada on Friday (May 6), at 10:15 a.m. EDT in its first qualification-round game. The game will be broadcast live on Versus and scoring updates will be available on Twitter by following #2011WMC. For Team USA coverage from Slovakia throughout the IIHF World Men’s Championship, including game blogs and postgame video, visit the U.S. Men’s National Team blog.
NOTES: Team USA went 1-for-6 on the power play, while Norway was 1-for-2 with the man advantage … Yan Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./CSKA Moscow/University of Notre Dame) was named the U.S. Player of the Game … The 2011 U.S. Men’s National Team roster can be found here and the media guide can be downloaded here … The U.S. Men’s National Team’s fourth-place finish at the 2009 IIHF World Men’s Championship was Team USA’s best finish at the tournament since capturing the bronze medal in 2004 … The 2011 U.S. Men’s National Team is under the direction of the U.S. Men’s National Team Advisory Group, including NHL general managers Brian Burke (Toronto), Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia), Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles), David Poile (Nashville), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh) and Dale Tallon (Florida); Atlanta Thrashers president Don Waddell; and Jim Johannson, USA Hockey’s assistant executive director for hockey operations. Paul Fenton, assistant general manager of the Nashville Predators and general manager of the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals, is serving as associate general manager of the 2011 U.S. Men’s National Team … Scott Gordon is head coach for the second consecutive year after leading the 2010 U.S. Men’s National Team, while Greg Cronin, Phil Housley and Barry Smith are serving as assistants … USA Hockey’s international council, chaired by Tony Rossi, vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams … Versus will provide television coverage of the first six U.S. games at the 2011 IIHF World Men’s Championship, in addition to the semifinal round and gold-medal game. For more information, visit USAHockey.com.