HELSINKI, Finland – Ben Meyers (Delano, Minn.) netted two goals, including what proved to be the game-winner in the opening stanza, and Jeremy Swayman (Anchorage, Alaska) recorded his second shutout of the tournament with 33 saves as the U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Switzerland, 3-0, here tonight to move on to the semifinal round at the 2022 IIHF Men’s World Championship.
The U.S. advances to its fifth semifinal appearance in its last seven world championships. Team USA will face Finland Saturday (May 28) in Tampere at 2:20 p.m. (7:20 a.m. ET) and the contest can be seen live on NHL Network.
“It’s was a gutsy effort by our guys,” said David Quinn, head coach of the 2022 U.S. Men’s National Team. “We had a great first period, faced a strong push from Switzerland in the second and came back with a really good third period. I’m really proud of our group and we’re excited to play in the semifinals.”
Play was quick on both ends of the ice, but the stout U.S. defense held the tournament’s leading offensive team at bay with only four shots in the opening 20 minutes. A tripping call past the halfway mark of the stanza put the U.S. on the power play and Meyers netted one with the man advantage at 11:59 to give the U.S. the lead. Meyers worked his way in front of the crease as the puck fell off his blade but deflected off a Swiss player and skidded into the goal. Kieffer Bellows (Edina, Minn.) and Luke Hughes (Canton, Mich.) were credited with assists on the play.
With under 4:00 to go in the period, Andrew Peeke (Parkland, Fla.) banked one off the boards to clear the puck out of the zone. Adam Gaudette (Braintree, Mass.) traced the puck and was in a battle down the ice, as Swiss netminder Leonardo Genoni came out to play the puck. Gaudette swiped at the loose puck right before Genoni could get to it, and cleaned it up off one knee in the crease to make it 2-0. Team USA had 12 total shots in the period.
Switzerland looked to cut the U.S. lead down to one while on the power play early in the second, but Swayman blocked multiple scoring chances aside. As the power play expired, Matt Boldy (Millis, Mass.) came out of the box with a breakaway opportunity but was denied.
Switzerland’s Denis Malgin broke up the middle between two U.S. defenders and had a great chance, but Swayman stretched for the toe save, and then stopped the rebound. Switzerland had 17 shots on net in total in the middle frame, but Swayman turned them all aside and the U.S. maintained its two-goal lead heading into the third.
Team USA had three golden opportunities to expand its lead within a minute span in the first five minutes of the third, including a pair by Boldy and one from Gaudette off a two-on-one with Bellows, but Genoni was equal to the task.
With 5:54 to play, Meyers netted his second of the game as Sean Farrell (Hopkinton, Mass.) sent a touch pass to Karson Kuhlman (Esko, Minn.) who held on to the puck until the last moment before he dished it to Meyers, who put it home at the side of the net. Thirteen seconds later, Switzerland pulled its netminder and brought on an extra skater. Swayman and the U.S. defense held strong as Team USA will head back to Tampere tomorrow and face Finland for the second time in the tournament.
NOTES: Jeremy Swayman (Anchorage, Alaska) was named U.S. Player of the Game … Switzerland outshot the U.S., 33-22 … Team USA converted on its only power play opportunity, while Switzerland was 0-2 … For more information about the 2022 IIHF Men’s World Championship, click here.