RIGA, Latvia – Conor Garland (Scituate, Mass.) and Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn.) each scored and Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.) contributed 22 saves to help the U.S. Men’s National Team to a 2-1 victory over Norway here tonight in preliminary round play at the 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship. It was the fourth straight win at the world championship for Team USA.
“All the credit to the guys, this was a good hockey game," said Jack Capuano, head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. "We knew coming in that this would be a tight game. Norway is a good team and made it tough. We’ve got to improve internally, control the penalties and give ourselves more opportunities moving forward."
Garland staked the U.S. to a 1-0 lead on the power play at 10:30 of the opening stanza as he put home the rebound of his own shot at the right of Norway netminder Henrik Haukeland. Zac Jones (Glen Allen, Va.) and Thompson also drew an assists on the play. It was Garland’s first goal of the tournament, to go along with four assists.
Less than a minute after a key save by U.S. netminder Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.) on Norway’s Michael Haga on a point blank chance in front, Thompson scored on his own rebound from out in front at 7:12 of the middle stanza to give the U.S. to a 2-0 advantage. Ryan Donato (Scituate, Mass.) and Matt Roy (Detroit, MIch.) had assists on the play. Oettinger made a highlight-reel glove save on Mats Rosseli Olsen’s backhanded rebound chance at the side of the net on the power play on what looked to be a sure goal for Norway with just less than 11:30 left in the period. The U.S. nearly got its third goal of the game late in the period, but Kevin Rooney’s (Canton, Mass.) shot from the left circle on a partial break went off the glove of Haukeland and then the far post.
Trevor Moore (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) had a good chance in front off the rebound of a Donato blast from the center point on the power play early in the third period, but couldn’t convert. Norway got on the board at 14:27 when Ken Andre Olimb backhanded one home from the side of the left circle. Norway pulled Haukeland with 1:36 left in favor of an extra attacker, but could not even the game. U.S. defenseman Connor Mackey (Tower Lakes, Ill.) had a key shot block in the waning seconds.
Oettinger picked up his second win in the tournament with 22 saves.
Team USA is 4-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) and will face Germany on Monday (May 31) in its sixth of seven preliminary round games. Opening faceoff is set for 9:15 a.m. ET and the game can be seen live on NHL Network.
NOTES: Colin Blackwell (North Andover, Mass.) was named the U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Norway, 27-23. Thompson had seven shots on goal to pace all players in the contest … The U.S. was 1-3 on the power play, while Norway was 0-4 … The U.S. has won four straight games in a single men's world championship for just the third time since 1990. The last time prior to this year was in 2017 ... Team USA has allowed just six goals in its first five games and no more than two goals in any single contest ... 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.