ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) had two goals and an assist and Team USA went 3-for-6 on the power play as the U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Belarus, 6-3, in preliminary-round play at the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship.
With the win, the U.S. improved to 1-0-0-1-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T).
"I thought our team responded well tonight, particularly against a well-coached team like Belarus, and a team that beat us in this tournament last year," said John Hynes, head coach of Team USA.
Miles Wood (Buffalo, N.Y.) opened the scoring for Team USA at 9:58 of the opening period as he came off the bench, collected a pass from Frank Vatrano (Springfield, Mass.) and snapped a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot.
Less than four minutes later, the U.S. took advantage of a power play opportunity and doubled its lead when Matthews connected with Chris Wideman (St. Louis, Mo.), who scored on a wrist shot from the center point.
At 1:56 of the second frame, Belarus’ Ilya Shinkevich received a match penalty for head butting, giving Team USA a five-minute power play. Just :16 into the man-advantage, Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) finished his own rebound into the top left corner of the net to extend the U.S. lead to 3-0.
The U.S. remained on the power play, but it was cut short by a penalty for slashing. As the Belarus major expired, Geoff Platt made it 3-1 with a power-play marker at 7:10. Just :59 later, however, Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.) regained a three-goal cushion for the U.S. by finishing a cross-ice feed from Vinnie Hinostroza (Bartlett, Ill.).
Matthews extended the lead to 5-1 with a power-play goal into the top corner of the net from the left circle at 14:25. A tally by Andrei Stas in the final two minutes of the second period put the score at 5-2 heading into the final frame.
Belarus had nearly a full minute of five-on-three play time midway through the third period and scored on a slapshot two seconds before the first U.S. penalty expired, but Matthews got his second of the game at 14:40 to account for the 6-3 final.
Mike Condon (Holliston, Mass.) made 20 saves in the win, while Belarus netminder Kevin Lalonde stopped 27 shots.
Team USA will continue play at the 2016 IIHF Men’s World Championship at 1:15 p.m. ET Monday (May 9) when it takes on Finland. The game will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network with a live stream will be available on NBC Sports Live Extra.
NOTES: For complete game statistics, click here ... Vinnie Hinostroza, who had two assists, was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... The U.S. outshot Belarus, 33-23 ... Auston Matthews led the U.S. with three points (2-1) ... Dylan Larkin and Noah Hanifin each had a goal and an assist ... Chris Wideman paced all U.S. skaters with 21:06 of ice time.
|May 3||Finland (exhibition)||L, 2-3 OT|
|May 6||Canada||L, 1-5|
|May 7||Belarus||W, 6-3|
|May 9||Finland||L, 2-3|
|May 12||France||W, 4-0|
|May 13||Hungary||W, 5-1|
|May 15||Germany||L, 2-3|
|May 17||Slovakia||L, 2-3 OT|
|May 19||Czech Republic (quarterfinal)||W, 2-1 SO|
Bronze Medal Game