TAMPERE, Finland – The U.S. Men’s National Team finished its three-week journey in Finland at the 2022 IIHF Men’s World Championship with an 8-4 loss to Czechia in the bronze-medal game. Team USA got off to a 3-1 lead after the opening period with a pair of goals from Karson Kuhlman (Esko, Minn.) and the sixth goal of the world championship from Adam Gaudette (Braintree, Mass.).
Kuhlman staked the U.S. to a 1-0 lead at 9:33. After Ben Meyers (Delano, Minn.) won the faceoff, Andrew Peeke (Parkland, Fla.) fired a shot from the point that caromed off Meyers and Kuhlman was on the doorstep to fire it home. Less than three minutes later, Gaudette finished a nice three-way passing play from the side of the circle that included Matt Boldy (Millis, Mass.) and T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.). The Czechs cut the lead in half at 15:19 on their third shot of the game, but in the closing minute of the period, Kuhlman pushed the puck up the ice shorthanded, and after touch passes from Sam Lafferty (Hollidaysburg, Penn.) and Nate Schmidt (St. Cloud, Minn.), received the puck back on the break and one-timed it to the back of the net with :13 left.
Czechia got the lone of the middle stanza. It came at 12:12 on a fortuitous play as a bouncing puck was blocked at the top of the crease by Peeke, hung in his equipment, but ultimately dropped to the ice where Jiri Smejkahl put it home. Boldy made a nifty move with just over two minutes in the period and sent a hard wrister to the net that went off the shoulder of Czechia netminder Karel Vejmelka.
Czechia opened the third period with three goals in the first 3:30 of the stanza to build a 5-3 advantage. The U.S. had a power play with just less than six minutes remaining, but the czechs tallied shorthanded to essentially end a comeback bid by Team USA.
For the second straight game, the U.S. played with just four true defensemen. Seth Jones (Frisco, Texas) played just short of 30 minutes in the game on the blueline while alternate captain Nate Schmidt (St. Cloud, Minn.) played almost 28 minutes.
Jeremy Swayman (Anchorage, Alaska) made 25 saves in the loss.
"I could not be more proud of this team," said David Quinn, head coach of the 2022 U.S. Men's National Team. "In the end, we just ran out of gas. We faced a lot of adversity, but that only made our group stronger as we went along and I told our team they can be proud of what they accomplished in finishing in the top four in the world."
NOTES: Karson Kuhlman, with two goals, was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... Czechia outshot the U.S. 33-24 ... Team USA was 1-3 on the power play, while Czechia was 1-4.