|Team USA Will Play in Quarterfinals on Thursday|
HELSINKI – The U.S. Men’s National Team lost to Slovakia, 4-1, here today in the final game of the preliminary round for both teams at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship.
“Slovakia played like a desperate hockey team and I give them credit,” said Joe Sacco, head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team, alluding to the fact that Slovakia needed a win to assure itself a spot in the quarterfinals. “It’s difficult to play from behind. But despite getting down two goals in the first few minutes of the game, we did generate some chances, particularly in the first and second period. It’s disappointing because we would have liked to win our group, but we’re excited about the opportunity to play in the quarterfinals and we’ll be ready come Thursday.”
Slovakia took an early 2-0 lead. Branko Radivojevic scored into a vacant net just :15 into the contest after netminder Ben Bishop‘s (Denver, Colo./Tampa Bay Lightning/University of Maine) intended pass from behind the net deflected off a stick and came out in front of the goal. Then at 3:44 Martin Bartek fired one home from the side of the left circle.
At 10:48 of the second period, Slovakia extended its advantage to 3-0 on Rene Vydareny’s power-play goal.Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn./Hamilton Bulldogs/Univ. of North Dakota), however, cut the deficit to 3-1 with a hard wrist shot from the top of the right circle with :46 remaining in the middle frame. Matt Carle(Anchorage, Alaska/Tampa Bay Lightning/Univ. of Denver) earned the lone assist, while David Moss(Livonia, Mich./Phoenix Coyotes/Univ. of Michigan) screened goaltender Rastislav Stana.
Team USA pressed in the third period, pulling Bishop for an extra attacker with 2:17 to play. Slovakia, however, notched an empty-net goal with 1:24 left to seal the game.
Bishop finished with 22 stops and Stana had 20 saves for Slovakia.
The United States won five of its seven preliminary round games and will receive the second or third seed in Thursday’s (May 16) quarterfinal round. Team USA will face either Russia or Finland. A matchup with Russia would begin at 1:00 p.m. local time (6:00 a.m. EDT, while a game vs. Finland would be played at 6:30 p.m. local time (11:30 a.m. EDT). Regardless of the pairing, NBC Sports Network will televise the game live and it will be streamed live in the United States through NBC Sports Live Extra.