COLOGNE, Germany -- Johnny Gaudreau (Salem, N.J./Calgary Flames/Boston College) had two goals and an assist to lead the U.S. Men’s National Team to a 6-1 win over Slovakia for its fifth straight victory here at the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship at LANXESS Arena.
Win the win, Team USA (5-0-0-1; W-OTW-OTL-L) clinched a spot in the quarterfinals. The U.S. closes preliminary-round play against Russia on Tuesday (May 16) at 10:15 a.m. ET (Live on NBCSN; live stream on NBC Sports app and at NBCSports.com). The winner of that contest will clinch the top seed in Group A heading into the quarterfinal round.
“Our effort and battle level was good today,” said Jeff Blashill, head coach of the 2017 U.S. Men’s National Team. “We still need to improve in our puck management and that’s something we’ll focus on. I like our group and we’ll work to get better as we get ready for Russia on Tuesday.”
Team USA took a 1-0 lead at 8:12 of the opening period thanks to the fifth goal of the tournament by Clayton Keller (St. Louis, Mo./Arizona Coyotes/Boston University). Keller put home a loose puck in front of the net after Anders Lee (Edina, Minn./NY Islanders/University of Notre Dame) had his point-blank attempt at the side of the goal stopped by Julius Hudacek.
The U.S. killed off a pair of Slovakia power plays to maintain the one-goal advantage entering the first intermission.
Gaudreau doubled Team USA’s lead with his fifth tally of the tournament at the 5:57 mark of the middle frame. The play started when Nick Bjugstad (Minneapolis, Minn./Florida Panthers/University of Minnesota) entered the zone slid the puck to the right circle for Gaudreau, who finished a give-and-go with Kevin Hayes (Dorchester, Mass./New York Rangers/Boston College) for the score.
Martin Gernat buried a rebound to cut the U.S. lead in half with 9:20 left in the second stanza.
Team USA regained a two-goal lead when Christian Dvorak (Palos, Ill./Arizona Coyotes) collected a feed by Gaudreau from behind the net and fired a backhand off the crossbar for his first goal of the tournament with 3:56 remaining in the second period.
Jacob Trouba (Rochester, Mich./Winnipeg Jets/University) netted his first goal of the world championship less than two minutes later from the bottom of the right circle to give the U.S. a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Gaudreau gave Team USA a 5-1 lead with his second goal of the game just 2:16 into the final period. Hayes intercepted a pass in the neutral zone, skated on goal and flipped a puck for Gaudreau, who tapped the puck into the open net for his tournament-leading sixth goal.
Lee added a power-play goal, his fourth of the tournament on the man-advantage, at the 7:23 mark of the third period to account for the 6-1 final.
Jimmy Howard (Syracuse, N.Y./Detroit Red Wings/University of Maine) made 19 saves to earn his third victory in goal for Team USA.
NOTES: Kevin Hayes was named U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA outshot Slovakia, 28-20 … The U.S. was 1-for-4 on the power play, while Slovakia finished 0-for-3 … Prior to this year, the U.S. had won five straight games in a single men’s world championship just twice – 1990 and 1931 ... Kevin Hayes and Brady Skjei each found the scoresheet in their first game for the U.S. here at the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championship. Hayes had two assists while Skjei picked up a helper on Keller’s goal … For complete game stats, click here … NHL Network’s live game schedule for the IIHF Men's World Championship is available here ... The official online home of the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championship is IIHFWorlds2017.com … Join the conversation using #2017MWC.
|May 2||Italy (exh.)||W, 5-2||Agora Arena||Milan, Italy|
|May 5||Germany||L, 1-2||LANXESS Arena||Cologne, Germany|
|May 7||Denmark||W, 7-2||LANXESS Arena||Cologne, Germany|
|May 8||Sweden||W, 4-3||LANXESS Arena||Cologne, Germany|
|May 10||Italy||W, 3-0||LANXESS Arena||Cologne, Germany|
|May 13||Latvia||W, 5-3||LANXESS Arena||Cologne, Germany|
|May 14||Slovakia||W, 6-1||LANXESS Arena||Cologne, Germany|
|May 16||Russia||W, 5-3||LANXESS Arena||Cologne, Germany|
|May 18||Finland (quarterfinal)||L, 0-2||LANXESS Arena||Cologne, Germany|