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Team USA Downs Host Finland, 4-1, in Men’s Worlds Opener

By USA Hockey, 05/12/23, 1:15PM EDT

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The U.S. to face Hungary on May 14 at 5:20 a.m. ET on NHL Network

TAMPERE, FinlandAlex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) scored twice, Drew O'Connor (Chatham, N.J.) had a goal and two assists and Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) made 23 saves as the U.S. Men’s National Team earned a 4-1 victory over host and defending gold-medalist Finland here today in the opening game of the 2023 IIHF Men’s World Championship.

“I thought it was an important win for us against a very good team,” said David Quinn, head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team. “We got better as the game wore on and I’m really proud of the mental toughness we showed throughout the game.”

Finland got the only goal of the opening period off a power play marker from Teemu Hartikainen at 17:07. DeSmith, who made several point-blank stops in the stanza and throughout the game, had nine saves in the opening 20 minutes.

The U.S. appeared to tie the game just under two minutes into the middle frame when Matt Coronato (Greenlawn, N.Y.) put home a shot from the high slot, but after a lengthy video review it was waived off for goaltender interference.

Sean Farrell (Hopkinton, Mass.) had a golden chance four minutes later on an odd-man rush, but his shot rang off the crossbar.

Cutter Gauthier (Scottsdale, Ariz.), who in January helped the U.S. to a bronze medal in the IIHF World Junior Championship, tied the game 13:48 into the second. Dylan Samberg (Hermantown, Minn.) connected with Carter Mazur (Jackson, Mich.) in the neutral zone and Gauthier fired one home from the top of the left circle.

An O'Connor wrist shot from between the circles put the U.S. ahead for good at 9:49 of the third. Conor Garland (Scituate, Mass.) started the play, forcing a turnover in the neutral zone and connecting with Samberg, who found O’Connor to finish the three-way scoring play.

GAME PHOTOS

Tuch made it 3-1 with 7:03 to play. Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif.) flew into the zone and made a drop pass to Tuch who found the back of the net from the side of the goal. O'Connor earned an assist on the play as well.

Finland pulled its goaltender for an extra attacker with 2:05 to play, but Tuch sent the puck into an empty net with a nice pass from O'Connor at 19:12 to end any hopes of a Finnish comeback and account for the 4-1 final.

DeSmith, who was named the U.S. Player of the Game, finished with 23 saves in the U.S. net.

The U.S. continues preliminary round play in the 2023 IIHF Men’s World Championship on Sunday (May 14) against Hungary with opening faceoff set for 12:20 p.m. local time/5:20 a.m. ET and the game can be seen live on NHL Network.

NOTES: The U.S. was 0-3 on the power play, while Finland was 1-2 … The U.S. outshot Finland by a 38-24 count … Defenseman Dylan Samberg had two assists in the contest … Alex Tuch had eight shots on goal in the contest.

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