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U.S. Tops Denmark, 7-2, in MWC Prelims

05/07/2017, 10:30am EDT
By USAHockey.com

COLOGNE, Germany Clayton Keller (St. Louis, Mo./Arizona Coyotes/Boston University) netted a hat trick and Anders Lee (Edina, Minn./New York Islanders/University of Notre Dame) scored two goals to lead the U.S. Men’s National Team to a 7-2 victory over Denmark in the second preliminary round game for both teams here at the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship at LAXNESS Arena.

“It was nice to get a win under our belts,” said Jeff Blashill, head coach of the 2017 U.S. Men’s National Team. “We did some good things tonight. I thought our power play took a step forward. We have plenty to work on, particularly from a defensive standpoint, but I really like the team we have and we’ll see how we do in our next test tomorrow night against a very good Sweden team.”

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Lee opened the scoring for Team USA 5:37 into the game on the team’s first power play of the contest when he backhanded a loose puck past Denmark netminder Mads Christensen from the slot.

The U.S. doubled its lead with 6:54 left in the opening period when Keller beat Christensen with a shot from the right circle before Denmark made it 2-1 on a power-play tally by Morten Madsen 3:04 later. 

Team USA regained a two-goal advantage with 1:01 left in the first period on its second power-play goal of the game when Johnny Gaudreau (Salem, N.J./Calgary Flames/Boston College) deflected Dylan Larkin’s (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Red Wings/University of Michigan) feed into the back of the net.

Nichlas Hardt tipped a shot past Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce, Mich./Winnipeg Jets/UMass Lowell) just over a minute into the second stanza to make the score 3-2.

The U.S. took control of the contest with three goals just 3:04 apart in the closing minutes of the middle frame. First, Keller skated down the right wing, edged towards the goal and slid the puck past Christensen for his second goal of the game with 5:27 left in the period. Just 2:36 after Keller’s tally, Lee buried a rebound for his second power-play goal of the contest before Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn./New York Islanders/University of North Dakota) put home a nifty goal-mouth feed by Nick Schmaltz (Madison, Wis./Chicago Blackhawks/University of North Dakota) just :28 later to make it 6-2 after two periods.

Keller completed the hat trick when his centering pass deflected off of a defender’s skate and into the net with seven minutes to play.

Hellebuyck finished with 23 saves in the win.

Team USA (1-0-0-1; W-OTW-OTL-L) returns to action tomorrow (May 8) at 2:15 p.m. ET versus Sweden. (Live on NHL Network; live stream on NBC Sports app and at NBCSports.com).

NOTES: Clayton Keller was named U.S. Player of the Game. Keller scored the first hat trick for a U.S. Men’s National Team player since May 8, 2013, when Craig Smith scored three times in a preliminary round game against Finland at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland … Team USA outshot Denmark, 34-25… The U.S. was 3-for-6 on the power play, while Denmark finished 1-for-5 ... For complete game stats, click here … NHL Network’s live game schedule for the IIHF Men's World Championship is available here ... The official online home of the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championship is IIHFWorlds2017.com … Join the conversation using #2017MWC.

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DATE OPPONENT Result ARENA LOCATION
May 2 Italy (exh.) W, 5-2 Agora Arena Milan, Italy
May 5 Germany L, 1-2 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany
May 7 Denmark W, 7-2 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany
May 8 Sweden W, 4-3 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany
May 10 Italy W, 3-0 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany
May 13 Latvia W, 5-3 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany
May 14 Slovakia W, 6-1 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany
May 16 Russia W, 5-3 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany
May 18 Finland (quarterfinal) L, 0-2 LANXESS Arena Cologne, Germany

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Tag(s): Men's Teams  World Championship  2017 Tournament