HELSINKI, Finland – Erik Johnson (Bloomington, Minn./Colorado Avalanche/Univ. of Minnesota) scored twice to lead the U.S. Men’s National Team to a 5-3 win vs. Austria today at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship at Hartwall Arena. Team USA (1-0-0-0, W-OTW-OTL-L) trailed by two goals early on but used a four-goal second period to seize control of the game.
“We got off to a tough start but rebounded well,” said Joe Sacco, head coach of the 2013 U.S. Men’s National Team. “Overall, I thought both teams played a pretty good first game. It’s obviously nice to get that first win under our belt and we’ll spend tonight looking at how we can be better against Latvia tomorrow night.”
Austria jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals at 4:58 and 5:38 of the opening period.
Team USA halved its deficit thanks to a power-play goal by David Moss (Livonia, Mich./Phoenix Coyotes/Univ. of Michigan) at 10:02. Moss tucked in the rebound off a point shot by Justin Faulk (South St. Paul, Minn./Carolina Hurricanes/Univ. of Minnesota Duluth).
Just over a minute into the second period, goaltender Ben Bishop (Denver, Colo./Tampa Bay Lightning/Univ. of Maine) made a save on Thomas Vanek’s breakaway attempt to keep the Austrian lead at 2-1.
“That was a turning point in the game,” said Sacco. “If he doesn’t make that save we’re down by a couple of goals and it’s a tougher hole to get out of.”
Two minutes later, Johnson knotted the game at 2-2 with a one-timer from the center point. Nick Bjugstad (Minneapolis, Minn./Florida Panthers/Univ. of Minnesota) provided the primary feed after holding the puck in at the blue line.
Tim Stapleton (La Grange, Ill./Dynamo Minsk/Univ. of Minnesota Duluth) put the U.S. ahead for good at 9:31. Team USA cycled the puck along the right side and created a wide-open rebound opportunity that Stapleton buried from the low slot.
The U.S. capitalized on a three-on-two rush at 10:57, expanding its lead to 4-2. Aaron Palushaj (Livonia, Mich./Colorado Avalanche/Univ. of Michigan) snapped a low shot into the net following a cross-ice pass by Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn./Hamilton Bulldogs/Univ. of North Dakota).
Team USA’s four-goal run was stopped at 13:21 when Austria converted on a breakaway chance.
Johnson reestablished the two-goal lead on USA’s second power-play goal of the day.Jamie McBain (Edina, Minn./Carolina Hurricanes/Univ. of Wisconsin) faked a shot and fed Johnson in the left circle for a one-time blast.
Team USA’s defense limited Austria to two shots on goal in the third period to seal the victory.
Bishop made 18 saves to collect his first career win for Team USA. Austria’s Bernhard Starkbaum stopped 24 shots.
Team USA’s next game is tomorrow vs. Latvia. Faceoff is 8:15 p.m. local time (1:15 p.m. EDT). NBC Sports Live Extra will stream the game live in the United States. NBC Sports Network will televise the game on delay at 1:15 a.m. EDT on May 6.