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Team USA Tops Russia at Men’s Worlds To Clinch Top Seed In Group A

COLOGNE, GERMANY - MAY 16: USA's Johnny Gaudreau #13, Noah Hanifin #55, Anders Lee #27 and Jack Eichel #15 celebrate after a third period goal against Russia during preliminary round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)

COLOGNE, Germany — (USA Hockey Photo) – Kevin Hayes (Dorchester, Mass./New York Rangers/Boston College) scored two goals and Anders Lee (Edina, Minn./NY Islanders/University of Notre Dame) netted the game-winner with 7:03 to play as the U.S. Men’s National Team erased three one-goal deficits to claim a 5-3 victory over Russia for its sixth straight win here at the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship at LANXESS Arena.

With the win, Team USA (6-0-0-1; W-OTW-OTL-L) clinched the top seed in Group A and will play the fourth-place team from Group B in Thursday’s (May 18) quarterfinals. Team USA’s opponent, game time and television information will be available following the final preliminary round games tonight.

“I thought it was a really good hockey game,” said Jeff Blashill, head coach of the 2017 U.S. Men’s National Team. “The crowd was unreal. The Russian fans are great and it made for an awesome atmosphere. I’m really impressed with our group. They’re a selfless bunch and I thought we took a step forward tonight.”

The U.S. nearly took the lead just over a minute into the contest when a wrist shot from the slot by Nick Bjugstad (Minneapolis, Minn./Florida Panthers/University of Minnesota) just caught the blocker of Andrei Vasilevski and deflected off the right post.

Team USA continued to generate scoring chances early in the game, earning a 9-1 advantage in shots along with a pair of power plays in the first 10 minutes, but was unable to net the go-ahead goal.

Russia opened the scoring on a breakaway goal by Nikita Gusev with 7:31 remaining in the first period.

The U.S. spent most of the final five minutes of the frame on the power play after a pair of Russian stick infractions, including a high-sticking double minor, but entered the first intermission trailing by a goal despite outshooting Russia, 16-3.

Team USA entered the second stanza with 1:12 left on the man-advantage, and evened the score on a power-play marker by Hayes exactly one minute into the frame. Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn./New York Islanders/University of North Dakota) collected a rebound and slid a backhand pass across the crease for Hayes, who buried the puck past a sprawling Vasilevski for his first goal of the tournament.

Anton Belov beat Jimmy Howard (Syracuse, N.Y./Detroit Red Wings/University of Maine) with a slap shot from the top of the right circle to give Russia a 2-1 lead 7:33 into the middle period.

Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich./Detroit Red Wings/University of Michigan) tied the game for Team USA with 7:42 remaining in the second period with a wrist shot from the slot that beat Vasilevski blocker side.

Russia regained a one-goal lead when Gusev finished a three-on-one rush on the power play for his second goal of the game with 3:45 left in the second stanza.

Just 1:28 later, the U.S. netted the equalizer for the third time in the period on Hayes’ second goal of the contest. Johnny Gaudreau (Salem, N.J./Calgary Flames/Boston College) fed a centering pass in front of the net for Hayes, who collected the puck and beat Vasilevski glove side to knot the score after two periods.

Lee scored the game-winner with 7:03 remaining when he tipped home a feed in front of the net by Gaudreau on the power play. The tally marked Lee’s fifth goal on the man-advantage at the world championship.

Howard made a shorthanded breakaway save on Artemi Panarin with just over six minutes left to preserve the lead, while Nelson sealed the victory with an empty-net marker with 22 seconds remaining.

With 16 saves, Howard earned his fourth victory of the tournament.

NOTES: Dylan Larkin was named U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA outshot Russia, 35-19 … The U.S. was 2-for-7 on the power play, while Russia finished 1-for-3 … Team USA scored three times in the second period for the fourth time this tournament … Johnny Gaudreau and Anders Lee both extended their point streaks to six games. Gaudreau had two assists in today’s game, while Lee had a goal … Kevin Hayes had his second two-point game in a row. Hayes was recently added to the Team USA roster and played his first game on Sunday (May 14) vs. Slovakia. He promptly contributed a pair of assists was named the U.S. Player of the Game. Hayes had two goals in today’s game … The U.S. has won six straight games at an IIHF Men’s World Championship for just the second time (1990). No U.S. team has ever won seven straight in a single men’s world championship … 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.

Team USA Schedule
2017 IIHF Men’s World Championship
Date Opponent Round

May 2 Italy Pre-Tournament Milan, Italy W, 5-2
May 5 Germany Preliminary Cologne, Germany L, 2-1
May 7 Denmark Preliminary Cologne, Germany W, 7-2
May 8 Sweden Preliminary Cologne, Germany W, 4-3
May 10 Italy Preliminary Cologne, Germany W, 3-0
May 13 Latvia Preliminary Cologne, Germany W, 5-3
May 14 Slovakia Preliminary Cologne, Germany W, 6-1
May 16 Russia Preliminary Cologne, Germany W, 5-3
May 18 TBD Quarterfinals Cologne, Germany TBD
May 20 TBD Semifinals Cologne, Germany 3:15 p.m./9:15 a.m.
7:15 p.m./1:15 p.m.
May 21 TBD Bronze/Gold-Medal Games Cologne, Germany 4:15 p.m./10:15 a.m.
8:45 p.m./2:45 p.m.

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