RIGA, Latvia – Brian Boyle (Hingham, Mass.), Trevor Moore (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and Conor Garland (Scituate, Mass.) each had two points to help the U.S. Men’s National Team to a 4-2 victory over host Latvia here tonight in preliminary round play at the 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship.
"I liked our compete level," said Jack Capuano, head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. "We’ve got some things to clean up, but overall I was real pleased with our group sticking together and doing little things like our penalty kill and shot blocking. That mentality is something we can lean on as we keep progressing here."
The U.S. got off to an early lead when defensemen Matt Tennyson (Pleasanton, Calif.) put one between the legs of Latvian netminder Matiss Kivlenieks on a shot from the right point at 1:06. Moore and Garland drew assists on the play. Latvia tied the game at 5:00 with a five-on-three power play marker as Miks Indrasis beat U.S. netminder Cal Petersen (Waterloo, Iowa) over the glove from between the circles. The U.S. took the lead back on a one-timer by Boyle just seconds after coming he came off the bench at 14:46, but just 1:59 later, Latvia evened the game when Renars Krastenbergs fired home a rebound just to the right of Petersen.
Moore staked the U.S. to the lead for good at 11:45 of the middle stanza when he converted a shot from the bottom of the left circle after a feed off the stick of Garland from below the goal line. Matty Beniers (Hingham, Mass.), who at 18-years-old is the youngest player on Team USA, made it 4-2 at 13:32 when he reversed course behind the net and pivoted out in front to beat Kivlenieks from in tight. Both Sasha Chmelevski (Huntingon Beach, Calif.) and Boyle gained assists on the play.
The U.S. held Latvia scoreless in the third, including a key penalty kill in the back half of the period, to win its third straight game in the world championship.
NOTES: Brian Boyle was named the U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Latvia, 26-19 … Defenseman Connor Mackey (Tower Lakes, Ill.) made his world championship debut in tonight’s contest … The U.S. was 1-3 on the power play, while Latvia was 1-5 … Team USA got goals from its oldest (Brian Boyle-36) and youngest (Matty Beniers-18) players in the game, both who hail from Hingham, Mass. Beniers is the youngest U.S. player to score a goal in the world championship since Phil Housley in 1982 … The U.S. has won three of its first four games in the world championship for the fourth straight time ... Justin Abdelkader (Muskegon, Mich.) is serving as captain of Team USA, while Colin Blackwell (North Andover, Mass.) and Matt Roy (Detroit, Mich.) are the squad’s alternate captains.